Fabiola Santiago

Fabiola Santiago: Obama breaks another promise to Hispanics

Congratulations, Mr. President. You’ve now joined Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas in the bipartisan Immigration Reform Hall of Shame.

Enjoy the company of elected leaders who don’t do what’s right and humane, but what party operatives believe is the most politically expedient move at the moment.

A summer promise you made to bring needed administrative relief to the undocumented is broken — yet another of the many unkept promises you’ve made to Hispanic voters in two political campaigns and six years in office.

The tally is too high to sweep under the political rug any longer.

This one particularly stings because your flip-flop comes at the expense of the victims of the anti-immigrant virus infecting the country, and if one can’t look to the nation’s president for leadership when it comes to fear and ignorance, then to whom?

The executive order you promised could have brought temporary relief to undocumented immigrant families, not permanent status or benefits that required congressional action. But, however small, a reprieve meant everything to the 60,000-plus families facing the deportation of a loved one between now and the November elections you’ve set as the new date for Nirvana.

Wait until after the elections, you say, while living up to the “Deporter-in-Chief” nickname a national Hispanic leader coined following your broken promise to review deportations more humanely.

“We want to believe him, but it’s really hard. We feel betrayed, deceived,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the advocacy group America’s Voice, told me. “There’s quite a lot the president can do and latitude for the executive branch to act.”

May the move to turn your back on families win the Democrats the elections. But I doubt it.

In the Sunshine State, where one of the few pluses the Republican governor’s challenger had was your endorsement, your Washington-made fumble could mean four more years of Rick Scott, the worst governor in state history. As if infant Democrat Charlie Crist and his Hispanic running mate needed to pedal any harder, they’re now busy separating themselves from your broken promise.

So much for that winning “change we can believe in.”

Ask the 50 children from Miami-Dade who traveled to Washington on Monday — to plead in front of the White House for a stay of heir fathers’ deportation — about feeling abandoned.

This would be more of the same in D.C., except that in the case of presidential action on immigration, it’s not.

Despite equally loud anti-immigrant sentiment in the 1980s and ’90s, Republican presidents granted relief to refugees. How incredible that Republicans have successfully cornered you on this issue. Hear them gloat?

You were re-elected — at least in South Florida, although it’s not a far stretch to suspect that it was so in other parts of this weary country, too – on what sociologists call “the silent vote.” Those are people who don’t go around croaking about their point of view, but surprise with their choice at the voting booth.

Mr. President, in case you’ve forgotten, you were the humanitarian candidate.