Andrés López is a successful attorney in Puerto Rico and a member of the Democratic National Committee. As co-chair of The Futuro Fund and one of the top fundraisers for President Obama, López was one of a group of high-profile Latinos, including the actress Eva Longoria, who used their ability to raise money and resources to help re-elect President Obama. But the work has only just begun, he says.
“The election was a tipping point for our whole community,” says López. ”We have a new influence in American politics, and we are looking to exert our influence in a whole host of issues,” explains the San Juan-based attorney, who was one of the top Latino ‘bundlers’, or fundraisers, for Obama.
So what is the next big issue for this group of Latinos?
“One of the basic tenets of the Obama campaign is that we help each other out,” says López, who as a Puerto Rican was born into U.S. citizenship. “Immigration reform so benefits the Latino community that the sooner we get the reform, the sooner we can move to the next stage of progress,” says López, who first met President Obama during their days at Harvard Law School.
The website Politico first reported on the group’s plans to put their energies and resources into immigration reform. The article also discussed whether there would be tensions between other older organizations which have been advocating for reform, and this group. López said, smiling, that “victory has many fathers, and failure is an orphan. Our aim with immigration reform is help get it through the finish line,” saying this is a space where the community as a whole needs to be engaged, together.
Giovanni Rodríguez, CEO of SocialxDesign, a consulting firm which supported the DNC’s Latino outreach program during the 2012 election, says it makes sense that a group like this would focus on immigration.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is a massive undertaking that will require a great deal of social, political and yes, financial capital,” says Rodriguez. “The leaders involved in this initiative have demonstrated their ability to harness all three,” adding he believes the group will be a big asset to parties working on reform in the next year.
At this point the group’s efforts to spearhead immigration reform are in its formative stages, according to López. He says they are trying to figure out a way to conceptualize their influence and their experience during the presidential campaign. Part of the strategy, he explains, is to have a national conversation on what they believe are the benefits of passing this type of legislation.
“Ultimately, immigration reform is about bringing the concept of economic opportunity to communities such as Latinos, one of the most forward-looking and optimistic groups when talking about the American Dream;” López remarks. “It’s about endowing all of us with opportunity,” he adds.