Immigrant activists promised Thursday to unleash a counteroffensive during the election year against President Donald Trump as he pressures to end his protection against the deportation that the Supreme Court made effective last week.
United We Dream Action, the political arm of the largest organization for immigrant youth without permanent legal status, known as Dreamers, is “empowering” its leaders and volunteers to reach 6 million young, low-propensity Latino voters for elections November, he said. Cristina Jiménez, executive director and co-founder of the group.
“We know that to defend immigrants, protect DACA, and defend our democracy, Trump must be defeated in November,” Jiménez said in a press call.
DACA refers to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young immigrants who have been in the US since childhood and who lack legal status to work and study without the threat of deportation.
The Supreme Court last week, in a 5-4 vote, rejected Trump’s attempt to end DACA protections and work permits for more than 650,000 people. While the ruling was celebrated by DACA beneficiaries, the court left room for Trump to take another stab at the end of the program, and Trump took advantage of that opening.
United We Dream said it is teaming up with other groups to mobilize voters against Trump and other Republicans.
The group is partnering with several organizations, including the International Union of Service Employees, one of the largest unions in the country; Sunrise Movement, an activist group focused on climate change and youth; Arizona-based grassroots organization LUCHA; The Center for Popular Democracy and the Youth Alliance.
Jiménez, who will vote in his first presidential election in November, said United We Dream will focus on engaging 2.5 million US citizen voters who are family members of DACA recipients.
Although DACA recipients cannot vote, they have a strong record of lobbying others in their networks who can vote to get to the polls. In the 2014 midterm elections, his anger at President Barack Obama’s deportation record was seen as influential in keeping some Latino voters at home.
An estimated 32 million Latinos are eligible to vote this year, but generally less than half have registered to vote. The nation saw a jump in Latino registration and voting in 2018, and before the death of George Floyd below the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, some 14 million were expected to vote this year.
While Floyd’s death and subsequent protests could act as motivators, the coronavirus pandemic could also hinder voting in some states like Texas, which has a large Latino population.
Jimenez said he cast his first ballot in a congressional race on Tuesday for progressive Jamaal Bowman, who led Representative Eliot Engel on Thursday in the Democratic primary in New York’s 16th Congressional District, with many ballots still counted. .
“I issued that ballot not only for myself, but also to take into account my undocumented parents [and] my brother Jonathan, who does not receive DACA, “said Jiménez.” My vote was cast for all working class families who need to be protected and prosper in this country. “
Jiménez and the other leaders who spoke to journalists said they see a spread of the protests and the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement in their communities and activism.
Ricardo Zamudio Guillén, organizing director of LUCHA, said Latino, black and indigenous peoples had already joined forces in Arizona to fight SB1070, the “show me your papers” law that gave law enforcement more power to stop people and ask if they are citizens or not. in the country legally.
Amid the Black Lives Matter protests, there is an understanding of how systemic racism is developing in different communities, said Zamudio Guillén.
He said there is growing awareness in immigrant and Latino communities that calls to disburse the police can also apply to police resources used to separate children from parents, detain them and deport them.
“We know that many of the policies that affect our communities have their roots in white supremacy and systemic racism,” said Jiménez.
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