Nice Speech, Now Show Real Commitment

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President Obama's speech on immigration reform yesterday was a needed and welcomed move. But at the end of the day, he has to deliver the goods.

For Obama, who is running for re-election, votes hang in the balance. Latinos -who overwhelmingly supported him in 2008 - have grown increasingly disappointed by his failure to deliver on his promise of immigration reform. And instead of progress, Latinos have seen themselves assailed by flawed and harsh deportation policies that separate families.

The President yesterday praised his deportation policy by saying that he had "increased the removal of criminals by 70%." Yet, frequently, those supposed "criminals" include too many fathers and mothers caught up in broad sweeps-immigrants who pose no threat to public safety.

With the House in the hands of right-wing Republicans and the presidential race around the corner, there is little chance that Obama will be able to rally the GOP's support around this issue. By no means should he fold.

The President must not only continue to push for legislative action but also scale back immigration enforcement programs-such as 287g and Secure Communities- that unnecessarily break apart families. And he can answer the call of thousands of young people by implementing the DREAM Act. This would provide high school graduates with a legal status if they meet strict criteria.

There are specific ways to help Latinos and immigrant communities now. Punishment is not a tenable policy for a nation that has historically relied on immigrants. But a lashing will most certainly be the outcome for politicians who oppose or remain passive to even the most reasonable measures for our communities.