• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Obama's Puerto Rican Trip Won’t Reduce Hispanic Unemployment

    After nearly half a century, President Obama will end the drought of no sitting U.S. President making an official visit to the island territory of Puerto Rico. The President’s trip will fulfill the campaign promise of then-candidate Obama to return to Puerto Rico as the Chief Executive, just as the 2012 presidential campaign kicks off.

    In this light, it’s not entirely surprising that the President will be in Puerto Rico for less than five hours to, among other things, fundraise for his re-election campaign.

    Raising money in an election season is nothing new, but today’s presidential visit to Puerto Rico stands out because of the obvious political calculus to win over Hispanic voters. The visit to Puerto Rico comes on the heels of news that Katherine Archuleta will be the political director for Obama 2012, the first Hispanic to hold the position, whose duties include “an emphasis on Hispanic community outreach.”

    As the presidential campaign continues to heat up, expect the President and his surrogates to spend considerable time on the stump focusing on immigration reform to win over Hispanic voters, particularly those in important swing states. In fact, as Carrie Brown of Politico describes, the President’s visit to Puerto Rico is a “natural extension of this strategy” to attract support among the eligible Puerto Rican voters in the state of Florida—a critical swing state.

    But if the President is hoping to run the same plays from the 2008 campaign playbook to win over Hispanics, he could be in for a rude awakening. Hispanics, like the rest of the country, are struggling to cope in a weak economy with high unemployment and becoming increasingly more skeptical of the President and his policies.

    Beyond immigration, Hispanics are struggling with the same economic concerns and economic security as the rest of the country. The President will have to enact bold policies and defy special interests to resist calls for greater government advocacy and increased government spending.

    A good starting place to defy conventional orthodoxy would be moving beyond overtures in support of free trade and spending what is left of his political capital to jump-start the stalled negotiations in Congress to approve the pending trade agreements with Panama and Colombia. Increased trade within the hemisphere would be a great way to create economic opportunities and increase U.S. competitive advantage in an increasingly global world.

    In short, the President’s trip to Puerto Rico won’t reduce the alarmingly high Hispanic unemployment rate that stands well over 10 percent. The President’s rhetoric must be followed by sustained policies that will look beyond political calculations while resisting calls from his closest advisors to reduce Hispanics into monolithic single-issue voters.

    President Obama must embrace the free-market principles that created the economic conditions that attracted immigrants—including Hispanics—in the first place, and resist policies that would increase the size and scope of the federal government and the burden on working families.

    A freer and more competitive economy will help all Americans, including Hispanics.


    Israel Ortega is the Editor of Heritage Libertad, www.libertad.org, the Spanish language page of The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Obama's Puerto Rican Trip Won’t Reduce Hispanic Unemployment

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      When has his Brazilian visit helped; how about his Irland visit helped: the London visit; or the many many other trips? This guy is only seeing the world on our dime and in good government fashion – at top dollar!

      The only thing this guy has done is contribute our growing national debt.

      Oh, his wife said recently that this guy never rests!

      But to be honest, I prefer him being out of the country. It has been the best investment that our debt has been put to! Keep on moving Barry!

    2. Pingback: Puerto Rico trip won’t woo Latinos :: Obama Bumper Stickers

    3. Eddie Matos says:

      What the GOP needs to do is communicate to the hispanic community that they believe in the entrepreneurial mentality the hispanic brings to the country. We hispanics are looking for opportunity not handouts. Obama thinks the opposite.

    4. Dan says:

      GOP needs a real conservative, Rick Perry. And when Rick Perry continues the GOP outreach to hispanics, actually letting them run for high office by picking Marco Rubio or Luis Fortuno for Vice-President, the hispanic community will really see that they do have more in common with Republican values than godless liberal democrats

    5. Pingback: Politico on the Latino vote: “Theatrics won’t woo Latinos” « The Greenroom

    6. Pingback: Politico on the Latino vote: “Theatrics won’t woo Latinos” | New Mexico News

    7. Pingback: Fausta's Blog » Blog Archive » Politico on the Latino vote: “Theatrics won’t woo Latinos”

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.