August 11, 2011 / 4:55 PM / 7 years ago

Group gives Obama only C grade for helping Hispanics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The credit rating is not the only thing being downgraded. Lack of action on federal immigration reform prompted a leading Hispanic advocacy group to give the administration of President Barack Obama a grade of “C” on issues important to Hispanics.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda gave the government a just-passing overall grade for six areas it said are critical.

“Immigration is clearly an area where we say Obama overpromised and underdelivered,” said Lillian Rodriguez Lopez, Chairperson of NHLA and President of the Hispanic Federation.

She said Obama has deported more Hispanic people than any other president, overshadowing other accomplishments.

NHLA’s two-year progress report is the first to assess actions over an administration on six areas: education, immigration, accountability, health, civil rights and economy.

“The last seven months have been disastrous,” said Lopez.

Hispanics, the largest and fastest growing minority population, now number 50.5 million or 16.3 percent of the total population, according to latest Census data.

In 2008, 67 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama over Republicans, according to Pew Hispanic Center. They could bring even more voters to the 2012 elections.

The National Center for Education Statistics found that the achievement gap remains between Hispanics and white Americans. But the NHLA report, issued on Wednesday, mentioned improvements in education such as an initiative to improve Hispanic education in science, technology, engineering and math.

Access to adequate healthcare also has improved for Hispanics, the largest uninsured group in the country, according to Elena Rios, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association.

Preventative care for conditions like diabetes and obesity and expansion of Medicaid will include many Latinos, she said.

The NHLA report found the Obama administration has hired more Latinos into top positions than any previous administration but concluded that challenges remain for Hispanic representation.

Hispanics are faring the worst in the recession, suffering the greatest percentage of job losses and reduced wages among minority communities, according to the NHLA.

Editing by Greg McCune

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