President Barack Obama gave perhaps the most important speech of his life Thursday night as his re-election is at stake.
His supporters praised him for what he has accomplished, including health care reform, ending the war in Iraq, equal pay legislation, bailing out of the auto industry and getting Osama bin Laden.
But President Obama failed to deliver on immigration reform. And he promised he would make it happen in his first year in office.
During his televised speech, Obama didn’t make any new promises on immigration but instead he defended immigrants.
“We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles. Because we understand that this democracy is ours,” the president said in his televised speech.
Obama reminded supporters that they pressed for policy changes on immigration and he listened to them.
“You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home,” the president said.
He was referring to a policy change that went into effect in August to allow young undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary work permits and defer deportation.
But it is a temporary solution and would not lead to permanent residency.
The Democrats tried to show they care about immigrants during the convention.
For the first time, an undocumented immigrant spoke at the convention. Benita Veliz, 27, came to the United States from Mexico as a child.
“I feel just as American as any of my friends or neighbors,” said Veliz. “But I’ve had to live almost my entire life knowing I could be deported just because of the way I came here.”
“They have chosen to do right by America and it’s time for us to do right by them,” Biden said.
But is all of this enough to convince Latinos who rank immigration as a top concern to vote for President Obama?
Obama can expect at least 70 percent of Latinos to vote for him. Romney will get 25 to 30 percent if he is lucky.
But the danger is not that Latinos will vote Republican but that they will stay at home at not vote at all.
There are more than 22 million Latinos who are eligible to vote in the United States. Just over half 12 million are expected to vote this fall, according to LULAC.
Latino voter turnout is key in battleground states like Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
It might help that this time there are more Latinos registered as Democrats than Republicans in Florida, according to Pew Hispanic.
It depends on how much will be done to get Latinos to the polls and whether what they heard at the convention will make a difference.
It may be too little too late.