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Chicago's Latinos get an earful on Rahm Emanuel's immigration record

Latino voters, likely to be a key bloc in the Chicago mayor's race, get conflicting reports from candidate Rahm Emanuel and his rivals concerning his record on immigration policy.

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Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel shakes hands after a speech earlier this month. Emanuel is under fire from critics for not doing enough to help immigrants while serving as President Obama's chief of staff.

M. Spencer Green/AP

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Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel is taking some heat over US immigration policy, with critics and election rivals saying he did not do enough while serving in Washington to push for reforms that would help certain subsets of illegal immigrants.

Specifically, his rivals in the race to replace longtime Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley say Mr. Emanuel should have done more to push for legislation that would stop deportations of illegal workers whose children are US citizens, on grounds of keeping families together. They also speculate that Emanuel, in his former position as White House chief of staff, could have helped to gain Senate passage of the DREAM Act, a bill aimed at helping young people who were brought to the US as children a pathway to American citizenship. It fell two votes short last month (by which time Emanuel had left the White House).

The backdrop in this mayoral race is the rising clout of Chicago's Hispanic voters. Among the major mayoral candidates, two are Hispanic. The conventional political wisdom is that, in splitting their community, neither will win, but many analysts expect the Latino vote could be kingmaker in the likely event of a two-person run-off contest after the Feb. 22 election.

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