Leaders of a national Hispanic organization are criticizing President Barack Obama for skipping their annual conference for the third consecutive year after he promised as a candidate in 2008 that he would return as president.
Some members of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials also are questioning Obama’s commitment to immigration reform, noting that deportations have increased under his watch — even as the administration intensifies its outreach for Hispanic votes. NALEO, which includes more than 6,000 Latino leaders who represent major blocs of voters in key electoral states, opens its annual conference Thursday in San Antonio.
The rift is noteworthy — and even a little puzzling — because of the administration’s aggressive push for Hispanic support ahead of 2012. Obama’s campaign team is trying to raise historically low rates of Hispanic registration and voter turnout in at least a half-dozen swing states, and one Obama adviser involved in his reelection effort recently told POLITICO, “Hispanics could very well decide this election.”
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