09/17/2012 08:33 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2012

Latinos Need Barack Obama

More than two centuries ago, Father Hidalgo inspired a group of poor Mexican farmers and villagers with El Grito de Independencia -- and changed the course of a people's history. While the fight has changed, Mexican-Americans are still seeking the same call for truth and action from a leadership that empowers all Latinos to take an active role in the future of our nation. So today, as Mitt Romney appeals to Latinos at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we -- Latino leaders representing over a million Latinos citywide -- are standing together to demand that Mitt Romney answers our Grito de Verdad y Liderazgo.

President Obama has stood by Latino communities and set forth a clear road to recovery for Latino families and businesses. He has enacted policies that give hard-working Latinos a hand up, not a hand out. Unfortunately, despite the clear direction the President has given our nation, Mitt Romney has not only misrepresented the President's record, he has yet to offer one idea that would create good-paying, stable jobs for the Latino middle class.

So in today's speech, we're guessing that Mitt Romney won't discuss the 18 small business tax cuts that President Obama passed in his first term or the $3.8 billion lent to Latino entrepreneurs to open new businesses and develop currently existing ones. He won't discuss the over 80,000 Latino jobs that were saved when the President rescued the American auto industry from extinction. And he won't recognize President Obama's clear, achievable plan for continued job creation and restore middle-class security for hard-working Americans. In fact, with 50 days to go in this election, Romney has yet to offer a plan to create good-paying middle-class jobs. What we do know is that in the next year alone, the President's plan will create 2 million more jobs than Romney's policies would.

But Romney won't talk about that today. He will highlight his business experience but will leave out his company's reputation as a pioneer of outsourcing, helping American companies send jobs to low wage countries like China and India. In fact, Mitt Romney took several companies into bankruptcy, shut down hundreds of factories and stores, and shipped jobs overseas.

The Latino community knows that California needs a real plan to restore our economy and a real plan that gives Latinos the chance to go as far as our hard work and talent take us. While President Obama is committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our nation's economic and security needs, Governor Romney's immigration stance is the most extreme in modern history. He has repeatedly favored sound bites over solutions, courting his extreme right wing base with harsh immigration rhetoric. He has vowed to veto the DREAM Act and even vetoed the Massachusetts DREAM Act, which would have provided in-state tuition to undocumented students. His plan for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States is to encourage them to "self-deport".

This is the wrong approach for California and for our nation. We support comprehensive immigration reform and we believe President Obama is on the right track. He favors an immigration policy that rewards hard work and responsibility and lifts the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought here as children, through no fault of their own, and grew up as Americans. And given congressional inaction, the President and the DHS implemented a stop-gap measure that temporarily lifts the shadow of deportation from DREAMers.

The economic recovery is not yet complete, but we recognize President Obama's work to help our communities. From the Latina back in school thanks to expanded Pell Grants to the family that can now afford health care for their child with a preexisting condition, all Latinos need a leader that will stand by his word and respect their pursuit of the American Dream.

Sadly when Mitt Romney speaks to Latinos today he will not answer our Grito de Verdad y Liderazgo because he stands on the wrong side of every Latino voter priority. Latinos know that what we need is a President who will lead our community with respect and value our contributions and that the contrast between Romney's campaign rhetoric and four years of action from this administration is clear: the man we need to lead us is Barack Obama.

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez
Labor leader Maria Elena Durazo
LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina
LA City Councilman Ed Reyes
California State Senator Edward Hernandez
California State Senator Alex Padilla
California Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes
California Assemblyman John Perez
California Assemblyman Gil Cedillo
California Assemblyman Kevin De Leon
LA City Councilman Eric Garcetti
LA City Councilman José Huizar
LA City Councilman Tony Cardenas