Obama must push immigration reform to retain Hispanic vote Published April 29, 2011 Tucson President Barack Obama must take action to push for immigration reform if he wants to keep the Hispanic vote in the 2012 election, Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva said in an interview with Efe. "The meetings that the president is holding on the immigration issue are a necessary step, but now we have to see what the result of these meetings will be," the Democratic lawmaker told Efe. Obama is meeting on Thursday at the White House with prominent Hispanics like Emilio Estefan, Eva Longoria and Jose Diaz-Balart to discuss immigration reform. This meeting comes less than two weeks after the president met with political leaders to discuss the issue. Now, according to Grijalva, various political actors want to see that Obama is using his authority as president to protect families that are being separated by deportations and those undocumented students who could benefit from the DREAM Act, which remains stalled in Congress. "The president has the right and the ability to do it," said the lawmaker, who added that currently the necessary support to approve immigration reform does not exist in either the House or the Senate. "President Obama certainly has enough authority to make life calmer for many families," he emphasized. On April 11, ImpreMedia released an opinion survey of Latinos about the work done so far by Congress and Obama. Although the president and the Democratic Party continue to retain the Hispanic vote, the survey results suggest that Latino voters are feeling more and more unsettled, which could lead a number of undecided voters to vote against them in the 2012 presidential and congressional election. While 41 percent of those surveyed said they were certain they would vote for Obama, 14 percent said they would vote for the president but could change their mind at election time, another 10 percent said they were undecided although they were leaning toward Obama and another 14 percent were completely undecided. The survey was conducted between March 24 and April 2 among 500 Hispanic voters registered in 21 states. To win the 2012 elections, Obama and the Democrats cannot "allow themselves the luxury" of losing the Hispanic vote, Grijalva said. For activists like Jennifer Allen, director of the Border Action Network, the immigration issue continues to be the one of most importance to the Hispanic community, particularly in states like Arizona, which transformed itself into the epicenter of the immigration debate after the implementation of state law SB1070, a measure that aims to criminalize undocumented migrants. "We hope that with the approach of the presidential election we'll see a positive change on the immigration issue," Allen told Efe.