National Latino Congreso stresses importance of Latino voters

By Contributing Writer

By Valeria Fanelli

The National Latino Congreso met Saturday in Chicago and called attention to major issues facing the Latino community.

Julieta Garibay, DREAM campaign coordinator for University of Texas at Austin, said it was important to address immigration issues as all the big world leaders are in town for the NATO Summit.

Who the next president will be matters to Latinos.

“We need to vote for somebody who recognizes our rights,” she said.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), spoke at a press conference with Latino leaders from all over the country.

Gutierrez underscored the importance of Latino voters in the next presidential campaign. He said everybody should vote and support leaders who will help the Latino community with anti-deportation laws.

“The [Latino] population needs somebody who fights for them, but we need to coordinate this process” he said. “We are going to continue demanding the president to use his executive power.”

Thomas Saenz, president and general council of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said Latinos must use their right to vote.

“We have to react as a community,” he said. “There is work to do and it needs to be done now.”

Saenz said Latinos have to make sure that their will have more impact in the presidential elections of 2012 than in 2008.

“Every election matters,” he said. “We must participate in the next elections.”

Juan Ochoa, CEO of Miramar Group, said Latinos must extend their power and help finance Obama’s campaign.

“We are over 50 million of people in this country,” he said. “If we believe we can write a $10 cheek, we can raise money very quickly,” he said.

The conference ended with a group chanting.

“What do we want? Justice. And when do we want it? Now.”