(CNN) – President Barack Obama's senior adviser maintained Sunday the White House's decision to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants was in no way designed to curry favor within the Latino community months ahead of November's general election.
David Plouffe, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," said the move was one in a series of steps already taken to allow the Department of Homeland Security greater discretion in enforcing America's immigration laws.
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"This is not a political move," Plouffe told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "It builds on steps we've already taken."
Pressed on the timing of the decision – less than five months from a general election in which Latinos could play a deciding role – Plouffe said the politics of the move were not yet clear.
"Who knows how the politics will turn out," Plouffe said. "This decision was the right decision. We'll see. I've ceased making predictions on things because we'll see how they turn out."
Obama won more than two-thirds of Latino voters in 2008, and polls show him leading his Republican opponent Mitt Romney among the demographic in 2012. Latino voters are considered key to winning the 2012 presidential election since they make up a large, growing chunk of the American electorate. They also represent a significant part of the population in several important swing states, including Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
Mobilizing members of the Latino community to vote, however, will remain a challenge for Obama as he enters the heat of the general election campaign. A study from the Pew Hispanic Center from the 2010 midterm elections indicated that while Latinos comprise an increasing chunk of the eligible American electorate, their representation at the polls is lower than their representation in the general population.
Obama's opponents have claimed the timing of Friday's decision revealed carefully calculated politics designed to mobilize his base of Latino supporters. They also say Obama, in bypassing Congress, ignored the Constitutional requirements of lawmaking.
Plouffe said Sunday the new immigration directive was within the power of the White House.
"This is fully within our ability," Plouffe said. "Again, this was an enforcement discretion decision. This is not amnesty. This is not citizenship. This gives these hardworking kids, who are here through no fault of their own, who are staffing our labs, start our businesses, serve in our military, a two-year period to apply for work authorization."
Plouffe criticized Romney for his immigration stance, pointing to the Republican's promise to veto the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would offer a path to citizenship for minors in the country illegally, providing they served in the armed forces or attended college. The initiative has not gained enough support to pass Congress despite several attempts.
"We need a permanent fix, we agree," Plouffe said, making clear the new rules announced Friday did not constitute such a fix. "The only way to do that if for Congress to pass the DREAM act. Sadly, Governor Romney has said he would veto the DREAM act."
"This is not a political move," Plouffe told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
Absolute nonsense... nobody believes this.
Yes of course its political, everything this administration does is for PR
In what world???? Even The left sees it as political??? Oh but not an executive order but something issued bu Nepolatano- Again he votes present and against American citizens....
President Obama already had the majority of the Latino vote.
Whatever the case is, both parties are pulling to their own side. Mitt Romney ranking Marco Rubio as first on his VP pick list, is also a political move. He can go ahead with that but will sway few if not many.
Hey Plouffe – Everything a president does in office is political. No matter when he does it. Why woldn't it be?
This move by Obama puts Rubio as VP candidate..
Right, Souffle – Obama's just doin' this out of the goodness of his heart - right, we never doubted that for a second. Gimmeabreak!!
This Obama do whatever takes to win. Not political? B.S.
Ya and Romney, who's against this and the DREAM ACT,just happened to go to college in France so he didn't have to serve militarily,now that's patriotic,that's the elite with their money side stepping the law that the poor and middle class can't avoid,military service.He also made sure his five sons didn't serve either,to continue his elitist Mormon bloodline at everyone's expense.Romney and his sons are just unpatriotic spineless draftdodgers,much like most of your republican senators and congressmen,its a sad fact,these same republicans who love wars,nevered served in any of them,true chicken hawks at their unpatriotic best...
Why not every body in this country go back to their point of origin and return this country back to the people that originally occupied it? Since we are so divided and the blatant racism that exist here is beyond ignorance. Racism is the issue that will be the demise of this country, pure and simple.
What's important is that it's the RIGHT thing to do! And that it will make the party of scared un-informed people freak out.
Not that the arrogantly bigotted rightists will see at as anything more than what their masters at fox tell them to believe.
One comment I read said "this puts Rubio as Romney's VP", wrong. Rubio had his chance to standup for Latinos against Florida's Governor and Arizona's Governor and the Sheriff of Arizona who attempted to disinfrancise voters and profile, roundup women and children and drop them off at the border. Women and children who have never lived in Mexico were just dropped off at the border, babies included. Rubio said nothing when Herman Cain said he would install an electric fence at the border. Rubio has never stood with Latinos, they know it and that's exactly why Obama did what he did for Latinos, this isn't Nazi Germany, we are the U.S. of America and we don't treat people like animals.
I support the president and I agree with this policy change, but even I don't believe there isn't a political angle in this. It's more than just politics, but there's some politics involved.
Strange! strange only the Latino people ln this country illigal everybody else come and go when every wont. Again strange. Bless.
We're in the age of the big lie. The obvious lie. People on both sides will say the most outrageous things knowing that it doesn't matter to the people on their side of the argument.
I agree Hotdog!
Plouffe and Axelrod are either pathological liars or users of an unusually potent Kool-Aid.
What did the congress do for the latinos during Bushs' administration? Nothing. When he had 6 years of a republican senate and congress? Nothing. What plans does Romney have? Deport them all and no resolution.
Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president.
He did an executive order because the republican do nothing congress will not allow or put forth a proposal.
Time for a democrat congress to move America forward.
Pete- What branch of the service did Obama serve in? or Bill Clinton? or Lyndon Johnson?
It is a Republican dream that all these young people are just going to just disappear, it's to expensive to try to send them out of the Country, so why not make them productive citizens.
I have a DREAM that immigrants wanting to live and study here will abide by the laws of this Country. Laws that were in place before they got in. This is supposed to be a nation of laws.
No illegal immigrants should be given citizenship. We have immigration laws that must be followed, and following those laws is the pathway to being a legal resident in the U.S.
Granting temporary amnesty to llegals under 30, the over-whelming majority of whom are Hispanic, is not a "political move?" Wow, the Obama administration must think the American people are really stupid.
Not Political? What an obvious lie...... of course it's political.... why would you even try to say that? What a joke.....
The Obama admin has 2 rules:
1) Deny everything
2) Ridicule those who oppose you