This week marks the four year anniversary of the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers, and while DACA changed the lives of 700,000 young immigrants, the results of the 2016 elections could determine the fate of this and other executive actions. While presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to end DACA on day one, his fellow Republicans down ballot have also lined up in opposition to the policy.
As Juan Escalante, a DACA recipient, explains, “These are the battles undocumented immigrants are currently fighting four years later after the implementation of DACA. There is so much at risk, and we simply cannot let Republicans undo all of our progress on immigration.”
While Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda is clear and unforgettable, with his promises to round up 11 million immigrants; ban all Muslims from admission into the U.S.; revoke birthright citizenship to 4.5 million “anchor babies;” rescind protections for 700,000 Dreamers on his first day as President; round up Syrian refugees already resettled; among others, it is vital that voters remember the anti-immigrant stances of down-ballot candidates come November.
Senators Richard Burr, Marco Rubio, and Rob Portman voted multiple times to end the DACA program. They all oppose DAPA, the policy that offers a modest step of protecting the parents of U.S. citizen children from being deported. During his failed campaign for President, Rubio stated he would end DACA, if elected. Burr and Portman also voted against the common sense Senate immigration reform bill that passed by a bipartisan 68-32 margin.
Representative Mike Coffman representing Colorado’s District 6, voted against the DREAM Act and to defund DACA. Coffman opposes DAPA and supported the House filing an amicus brief against the Obama Administration’s executive actions on immigration. Coffman also supported the Aderholt amendment in 2015, which would have blocked the President from expanding DACA to others who came to this country at a very young age.
Representative Joe Heck opposed the 2010 DREAM Act and the 2013 bipartisan “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration reform bill. He voted on multiple occasions to defund DACA and opposes DACA+ and DAPA. Heck also supported the Aderholt amendment in 2015, which would have blocked the President from expanding DACA.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “DACA has changed lives, and it was an important step brought about through the activism and leadership of DREAMers. It’s a policy that works and should be expanded. Yet, over the past few years, Republicans have taken repeated votes to end DACA and subject long-term U.S. residents to deportation. Across the board, these politicians are amplifying Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda and prioritizing party over country, a position we cannot allow to prevail in November.”