‘Dreamer’ Debate Will Have Major Political Resonance As 91% Of Latinos Want DREAM Act Passed

DREAMers
Immigrants and supporters march on the Las Vegas Strip during a 'We Rise for the Dream' rally to oppose U.S. President Donald Trump's order to end DACA on September 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects young immigrants who grew up in the U.S. after arriving with their undocumented parents from deportation to a foreign country. Trump's executive order removes protection for about 800,000 current 'dreamers,' about 13,000 of whom live in Nevada. Congress has the option to replace the policy with legislation (DREAM Act) before DACA expires on March 5, 2018. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

On a press call and webinar held on Wednesday, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) joined with Latino Victory Project President Cristóbal J. Alex, Sylvia Manzano, Principal at Latino Decisions, and Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, to discuss the findings and implications of  new polling exploring Latinos’ views on DACA and the ongoing debate over Dreamers.

Manzano highlighted some of the key poll takeaways of the nationwide poll of Latinos:

Latinos overwhelmingly back DREAM Act passage and oppose the announced end of DACA.

91% of Latinos want Congress to pass a DREAM Act with path to earned citizenship

84% think Congress should attach the DREAM Act to budget resolution this year

79% of Latinos opposed the move to end DACA

87% want Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the broader undocumented immigrant community

The DREAM Act debate will have major political implications in the 2018 midterms

When presented with a congressional candidate who either supported or opposed the DREAM Act, Latinos overwhelmingly choose candidates who support the DREAM Act – even Republicans:

88% more likely to support a Democrat who supports DREAM Act (64% strongly)

77% more likely to support a Republican who supports DREAM Act (29% strongly)

61% LESS LIKELY to support a Democrat who opposes DREAM Act (45% strongly)

77% LESS LIKELY to support a Republican who opposes DREAM Act (57% strongly)

On the call, Lujan Grisham said, “Hispanic voters' support of Dreamers is unequivocal. Every Member of Congress – Democrat and Republican – should look at these poll results as their guiding light.”

“The Hispanic community will remember those who protected the futures of nearly 800,000 young patriots, as they enter voting booths in upcoming elections. Key to them will be whether or not their elected representative supported an earned path to citizenship for Dreamers and comprehensive and just reforms to our immigration system. We urge our colleagues in Congress to support the bipartisan effort behind the Dream Act and call for its immediate passage without delay.”

Castro added, “For obvious reasons, the Latino community feels deeply alienated by President Trump and that has rubbed off on the Republican party, as the poll makes clear. But, the poll also reflects an opportunity for the Republicans to regain the confidence and trust of Latinos. That is why we are asking Democrats and Republicans to join us in supporting the DREAM Act and signing a discharge petition that would bring the legislation to the floor for a vote. If put to a vote, we believe it will pass.”

Meanwhile, Alex chimed in, “Trump has managed to fall short even of our lowered expectations of him, and he’s taking the Republican Party down with him. Seventy percent of Latinos think Republicans are either hostile to Latinos or don't care about Latinos. We believe that the DREAM Act will have an enormous impact during the 2018 midterms. Latinos will support candidates who back the DREAM Act and will oppose those against it. This is Donald Trump's Proposition 187 moment. He is becoming the greatest Latino organizer in American history.”

And Sharry said, “Dreamers are Americans, and the American people want them to be formally and finally recognized as such. Proposals that deny or delay citizenship, seek to use Dreamers as bargaining chips, or abridge rights and opportunities afforded to other immigrants are contrary to who we are and how we have practiced immigration for hundreds of years. Congress should pass a clean DREAM Act. It’s straightforward, bipartisan and enjoys majority support in both chambers of Congress.”

About the DREAM Act and DACA:

The DREAM Act is potential legislation that must be passed by Congress and signed by the President into law whereas DACA is an Executive Order recently signed by President Obama in June 2012.

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) has been stalemated in Congress for quite some time, which is why Obama attempted to address some of these issues through his Executive Order. Both are designed to let people illegally residing in the United States get their work authorizations, Social Security number, and driver’s license. Only the DREAM Act as previously written would enable a green card to be obtained.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), signed on June 15 of 2012, states that the government will not deport those who meet certain criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Children who arrived here before the age of 16 and are under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012
  • Individuals who are in school or possess a high school diploma
  • Applicants who have lived here for at least five years
  • People who have not committed serious crimes
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Maria G. Valdez

Maria was born and raised in Dominican Republic, where she began her career in journalism covering human interest stories, entertainment, beauty and wellness for a national magazine. She moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre, but went back to journalism after graduating in an attempt of becoming the Latina Carrie Bradshaw. She has an unhealthy obsession with JLo and claims to be Sofia Vergara’s long-lost daughter, and has tried a crazy amount of treatments to keep looking young. She became a Zumba instructor for fun.