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Why I Voted For Barack Obama

by Liz Cedillo-Pereira

I voted for Senator Barack Obama this week at the Records building in downtown Dallas. There were a host of individuals taking time from the lunch hour - exercising one of the most important rights we have as U.S. citizens - the right to vote. As an Immigration attorney, I have learned from my clients how fortunate we are as Americans to play an important role in the selection of our elected officials.

This time, I felt especially proud to cast my vote. I actually clicked my heels in the air as I departed the Records building believing in the promise of what Tuesday may bring our country.

As has been said repeatedly, this is one of the most important Presidential elections we may experience in our life time. For me, the experience is quite personal. Since the last presidential election, I have been blessed with three wonderful kids. These kids count on me and their father for assurance that everything will be o.k. - that when they go to bed at night, their bedroom is safe and sound - that when they are hungry, there is food in the fridge, - that when they get sick, we will take them to their pediatrician - that when they are ready to spread their wings, they will have a school where they can grow and learn. I know ours is not a unique situation. There are many other parents who stay awake at night, and although my husband and I do not sit around the kitchen table, we are in constant communication about how to manage our family matters so that our kids have what they need and do not have to worry.

This is essentially why I voted for Barack Obama for President. I believe him when he says that he will place everyday Americans first in his Administration. For me, this means, he will search for ways to create jobs with good wages in the U.S. He will prioritize early childhood education and make higher education affordable and accessible for aspiring college students. He will work with all his might to fight for universal health care coverage. He will thoughtfully and responsibly find the way to bring our troops home from Iraq. He will call us all to take part in the democratic process.

We may not all agree with some of Senator Obama's viewpoints and some in our Hispanic communities may not even be accustomed to uniting behind an African American leader, but we can all agree that America has always stood as a beacon of opportunity and hope that we call the American Dream.

For me, the American Dream rests in the blessed assurance we provide to our nation's children. For me, I trust Barack Obama to place this non-voting constituency at the top of his agenda.

Much to my husband's dismay, I have watched every Clinton/Obama/McCain debate over the last several months. When immigration became known as an ugly word, Senator Barack Obama had the audacity to say that he would work to pass the DREAM Act. He supported a state version in Illinois and he had the integrity to tell our nation as a candidate that he would work to get the DREAM Act passed when he becomes president. As many know, the DREAM Act would provide students who were born in another country but raised in the U.S. the opportunity to legalize their status through attainment of a college degree or service in the U.S. Armed forces.

The Hispanic community must choose leaders who say what they mean even when it may be politically expedient to say otherwise. This holds true for other legislative races in Texas. State Representative Rick Noriega has worked tirelessly as a serviceman, legislator and family man to strengthen Texas and will make an excellent U.S. Senator. He was the main sponsor of the Texas DREAM Act, commonly known as the "Noriega law" for its sponsor. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 students have benefited from the in-state tuition law and more than 70 percent have graduated.

For my part, as a Latina, a mother, a proud American, I voted for Barack Obama and Rick Noriega. I hope my three children and yours will be glad that I did...

About The Author

Liz Cedillo-Pereira is a Dallas Immigration Attorney with Cedillo-Pereira & Cedillo, PLLC who recently helped form the Texas DREAM Act Coalition. She can be reached at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.