Hispanic leaders say immigration impacted midterms

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hispanic leaders said Wednesday that President Obama's failed effort to pass immigration reform kept many of their supporters away from the polls.

For Latinos who are also U.S. citizens, immigration reform remains a top priority. Many Latino Americans have extended family that is undocumented and living in the country.

Teresa Berumen is among those calling on President Obama to use his executive powers to provide immigration reform measures that Congress has failed to implement.

"They have been hiding in the shadows," Berumen says of undocumented immigrants, "Losing jobs because they don't have the required documentation."

The president promised administrative action after the election. Members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) say they're tired of waiting.

"Now that the election is over, it's really time to keep his promise," says Inhe Choi of the Korean American Resource Center.

President Obama says immigration reform is his top legislative priority and repeated his promise to take administrative action during his post-election news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"What I'm not gonna do is just wait," Obama told the press. "In the meantime, let's figure out what we can do lawfully through executive actions."

Congressman Luis Gutierrez says many Latino voters have been disillusioned by failed efforts at immigration reform and were not motivated to vote. He thinks that may be an important reason why Democrats lost ground nationally to Republicans yesterday.

"What did you get? Nothing. You lost the senate and you angered and disillusioned a community that has always been so loyal to you," Guttierez said.

The ICIRR is taking the president at his word. They are already preparing to reach out to and educated the undocumented community once the president announces his measures. The president said he will do that before the end of the year, but he is also hoping Congress will pass legislation that would supersede executive action.
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