Many African-Americans concerned about Obama’s focus on immigrant rights

McClatchy, By William Douglas and Franco Ordonez

WASHINGTON — No sooner did President Barack Obama and a group of senators separately outline proposals to revamp the nation’s immigration system than the phone lines on several African-American-oriented talk radio shows heated up with callers blasting the plans.

“Amnesty,” complained Frankie from Maryland recently on the nationally syndicated “Keeping it Real with Al Sharpton.”

A political payback to Hispanic voters that does little or nothing for African-Americans, reasoned Sam from Milwaukee on Wisconsin’s 1290 WMCS AM’s “Earl Ingram Show.”

“Our issues are not being highlighted and pushed, and things like gay marriage and (immigration) are being pushed to the forefront,” the caller said. “Hispanics are effectively organized. For us not to be organized and for us not to hold our leadership accountable is disheartening.”

Although the civil rights establishment, from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to the Urban League and Sharpton, squarely back Obama’s desire to tackle immigration, the president’s call has reignited complaints within the African-American community that he is addressing the specific needs of almost all major voting blocs – Hispanics, women, gays – except for the African-Americans who gave him 93 percent of their vote.

Obama is expected to address the immigration issue again Tuesday in his State of the Union address and when he travels to Asheville, N.C., on Wednesday and visits Chicago and suburban Atlanta on Thursday to sell his second-term agenda.

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