EXCLUSIVE: Voto Latino's Maria Teresa Kumar on Immigration Legislation - "It's an Exciting Time"

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From the Supreme Court striking down the Arizona immigration law to Obama saying he was going to stop deporting DREAM Act-eligible candidates, the topic of immigration has been covered full force lately. With Election Day exactly 133 days away, we chatted with Co-Chair and CEO of Voto Latino, Maria Teresa Kumar about what this means for Latinos and the future of immigration politics in the U.S. Check out our exclusive interview below:

What are your thoughts on all of the recent changes made in regards to immigration politics?

"This has provided every opportunity for dialogue. It has also provided a lot of relief for young people who have made their voices heard and have been working so hard to be part of the American fabric. I think it's an exciting time."

Specifically what do you think about Obama's decision to stop deporting Dream Act-eligible people?

"This has been a 10-year fight. It was Congress not taking any action and Obama has now forced them to. It's not a perfect bill, but it moves it along and makes it an international discussion. So now you see Congress having a difficult time because they realize that he bascially called their bluff and is making it the widespread issue that it should be. We needed that time of leadership from the President for a very long time."

What do you think it says about all of those "DREAMers" out there?

"When we keep putting pressure on our administration and elected officials then it proves that democracy does work. Even if you can't vote, you can protest and push people to do the right thing. The DREAMers helped make that happen. We need these people, who are striving to become doctors and engineers, to be part of our economy. This outcome is amazing for Americans everywhere."

With Election Day fast approaching, how should Obama and Romney continue addressing the topic of immigration?

"Head on. I mean 60 percent of moderate voters agree with what the President has done [with the DREAM Act]. It shows that our nation has shifted from being an anti-immigrant country to a place where we embrace and respect the hard work that these individuals have put in. Romney has the opportunity to own the issue in his own way as well. They have to put family's first and go the extra mile."

You guys recently hosted a two-day Power Summit to encourage young people to become Voto Latino leaders in their communities. How did that go?

"We had over 300 young people come out for the event. They really walked away with the tools to grow the grassroots movement in their communities. We hope to get as many young Latinos registered to vote as we can. All of this coverage on immigration has happened because they feel the pressure from our community. We are already feeling the change happen. Now we have to continue that at the polls."

Visit VotoLatino.org to register to vote and learn more about the power summit.

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