Despite Mitt Romney’s false attacks, the facts show that President Obama has a consistent record of standing up for Latinos. While Romney has alienated most Latino voters by supporting intensely anti-immigration policies, President Obama fought to get Latinos back to work, support Hispanic-owned small businesses, expand health coverage, and ensure that higher education is in reach for all Latinos.
Under the President’s leadership, the unemployment rate among Hispanic Americans has declined 2.4 percentage points over the last 30 months. Mitt Romney’s claim that Hispanic unemployment has increased under President Obama is a deliberate distortion—the independent fact-checker Politifact said that Romney was “clearly cherry-picking” misleading statistics, and rated his claim “mostly false.”
The President has cut taxes for millions of working Latinos and their families. President Obama signed and secured an extension of the payroll tax cut, ensuring that taxes do not increase for nearly 25 million Hispanic workers in 2012, and he secured vital tax relief for 3.7 million Hispanic families—affecting 8 million Hispanic children—in order to create jobs and accelerate economic growth.
The Obama administration has supported over $3.8 billion in loans to Hispanic-owned small businesses. Since 2009, the Obama administration has supported loans totaling more than $3.8 billion for Hispanic-owned small businesses, and Hispanic-owned small businesses have won over $29 billion in federal contracts—directly helping them build capacity and grow their businesses.
The President has worked to ensure that higher education is in reach for all Latinos. President Obama signed legislation to strengthen Hispanic-serving higher education institutions by investing more than $1 billion over the next decade, and signed student loan reform that will provide an estimated 150,000 additional Pell Grant awards to Hispanic students by 2020. While President Obama has fought to pass the DREAM Act, which would give hardworking students a chance to earn citizenship by contributing to the country they call home, Mitt Romney said he would veto it. And describing his plan for dealing with the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Romney said, “the answer is self-deportation.”
Obamacare is making insurance coverage more accessible and affordable for Latinos, eliminating lifetime limits, and expanding preventive services. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, lifetime limits have been eliminated for 11.8 million Latinos, and an estimated 6.1 million Latinos with private insurance have access to expanded preventive services with no cost sharing. Some 3.9 million Latino Medicare beneficiaries now have access to expanded Medicare benefits, while 913,000 additional Latino young adults received health insurance thanks to the provision allowing young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ plans.
While President Obama plans to keep fighting for Latinos, Mitt Romney’s proposed policies would directly harm the Hispanic community. In addition to opposing the DREAM Act, Romney praised Arizona’s S.B. 1070—which requires police to check someone’s immigration status if officers believe there is “reasonable suspicion” he or she could be an undocumented immigrant—as a “model” for the nation. And while President Obama will fight to lower taxes for middle-class Latino families and Hispanic-owned small businesses, Romney’s tax plan would either explode the deficit or raise taxes on the middle class and small businesses to pay for a $5 trillion tax cut skewed toward millionaires and billionaires.