Latino Conference Brings Immigration Overhaul Back to the Trail

NYT FDMaggie Haberman 6/16/2015

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Good Wednesday morning from Washington, where there is some potential movement on trade and even on the issue of needle exchanges. But as a conference of Latino elected officials invites candidates to speak, immigration is sure to be back in the national conversation.

This week highlights one of the issues defining the contours of the 2016 election: immigration.

For weeks, Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she would go further to halt deportations than President Obama has with executive orders. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has proved a strong candidate on the Republican side, is the son of immigrants and has made their story a central part of his personal narrative.

And Jeb Bush, whose wife, Columba Bush, grew up in Mexico, spoke fluent Spanish during his announcement speech in Miami on Monday, and, in response to protesters, gave an unplanned endorsement of overhauling immigration.

Though the issue has already maintained a strong presence in the race, a relatively small cattle call moves it briefly center stage.

At the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials convention in Las Vegas, starting Wednesday and continuing through Friday, Mrs. Clinton will be a featured speaker, as will Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The only Republican candidate scheduled to make a live appearance is Ben Carson.

Though Mr. Rubio will not attend —his aides cited a scheduling conflict— he and Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, are expected to seek support from Hispanic voters, a fast-emerging group in battleground states.

Mr. Bush vowed in his announcement speech that the next occupant of the White House would enact “meaningful” changes to immigration, an issue that has bedeviled Republican lawmakers and enraged the party’s base. The speech was well received, and he seemed presidential over television screens, which was how most people watched the speech.

Mr. Bush will also skip the Naleo convention, heading to Iowa for his first visit to the early voting state as a declared candidate. He will send a video to the conference instead.