Hispanics Don’t Have to Fear Raids, Michelle Obama Says
Her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, wants to reform immigration policies and provide illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, she said.
"We would have an immigration policy that brings 12 million people out of the shadows," she told cheering caucus members who shouted "Yes we can" in Spanish.
Hispanics are often the first to suffer in an economic downturn and the last to benefit during a recovery, she said.
She told the caucus that blacks and Hispanics share an interest in providing access to affordable health care, education and economic opportunities for all Americans, not just a select few.
"We all know our country's journey toward equality isn't finished yet. We have more work to do," she said.
Hispanics could play a key role in the November election, especially in the West where the Obama campaign has been courting them.
Researchers say that although Hispanics make up about 15 percent of the U.S. population, about 9 percent of eligible Hispanic voters are registered to vote and only 6.5 percent do vote, a statistic Republicans and Democrats are trying to change.
Raymond Pedraza, a member of the Nevada Democratic Party's executive committee, said Hispanics are flocking to Obama because they feel they share a similar heritage of economic and civil rights struggles.
"He's our story. He has walked in our shoes and he has walked our mile," Pedraza said.