Thank you, Jenny. I appreciate your kind words. It is an honor for me to join you again in another HLN annual conference here in Miami. I am proud of how far we have come as an organization but, as Jenny just alluded to, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
From immigration and Medicare reform to jobs and the economy, Hispanics will play a key role in deciding the path forward for our country. And right now, that path looks to be leading in only one direction – away from conservative values. We must change that. And to do so, we need you to join our fight.
Consider immigration reform…poll after poll suggests that a vast majority of conservatives will support a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in our country. That is…as long as we talk about that process in a way in which we highlight the conditions attached to it, including the need for applicants to pass a background check and pay back taxes.
It is important that we communicate that the process, which will take at least 13 years for completion, will be fair to all involved, especially to those who have been waiting in line after legally applying for citizenship. Like Jenny said, what we say is as important as how we say it.
We cannot afford to lose the immigration debate on semantics. We need to be strategic, proactive, and relentless in educating Hispanics nationwide about the principles we believe in and will defend during the public policy debate about immigration reform.
The conversations we will have here today on immigration, the economy, education, and healthcare will hopefully arm you with the tools you need to help us amplify our message. From immigration reform to jump-starting our economy, Latinos must not and should not settle for less than what they deserve.
Since President Obama took office, for example, the Hispanic unemployment rate has remained above 9 percent. For young Hispanics, those 18 to 29 years old, the March unemployment rate figure is a staggering 12.6 percent. That is simply unacceptable. The White House speaks of an economic recovery. What recovery?
To make matters worse, under the president’s budget for FY2014, the national debt would grow to over $25 trillion by 2023. This would further slow the economy and threaten the possibility of a sovereign debt crisis.
I can go on and on, but you get my point. There is a better way forward. Our task, after today, is to ensure that we actively and efficiently communicate that alternative to Hispanics nationwide. We sincerely hope that all of you answer our call to do so.
A man who will be instrumental in ensuring that conservative values prevail and that elected officials are held accountable for their actions during the upcoming public debate on immigration reform is someone who has served the Hispanic community and this country well for more than a decade. He is a tireless advocate for Latinos nationwide and the former Secretary of Commerce of the United States. Mi amigo, and yours, Carlos Gutierrez.