When President Obama announced that he was delaying his executive action on immigration, advocacy groups slammed his decision and pointed out that Democrats will be the ones to suffer — both in 2014 and 2016, when the Democratic presidential contender will have to mobilize Latino voters while confronting Obama’s record as the “Deporter-in-Chief”.
Naturally, this makes Hillary Clinton a target for DREAMers and activists who remain unsure about her stance on Obama’s delay, and what kind of president she would be on immigration, if elected. DREAMers confronted her last weekend at the Harkin Steak Fry in Iowa, and two days later at a benefit in New York. They also have plans to address her again today, outside the Women’s Leadership Forum, an event hosted by the Democratic National Committee. And there’s no indication that their plans stop there, which means that Clinton is going to have to figure out a better answer to their questions than the one she gave in Iowa.
A piece from Adrian Carrasquillo and Ruby Cramer at Buzzfeed today quotes DREAMers with DRM Action and United We Dream about their plans for Clinton:
“One of the targets in the long run is going to be Hillary,” said Erika Andiola, a national activist among DREAMers who filmed the confrontation in Iowa last weekend. Andiola posted the video on YouTube, and news outlets picked up the story hours later.
“She’s Hillary Clinton, not just any old person,” said Julieta Garibay, a United We Dream leader. “Right now for us, anyone who is standing in the way of justice for our families is against us. We wouldn’t call her the primary target, but with the voice she has, we’re frustrated with anyone who says there should be a delay or that there shouldn’t be action.”…
“We want to hear, ‘I support DREAMers, I support families,’” said Cesar Vargas, who heads Dream Action Coalition with Andiola…“We want her to show she can be a president. Presidents take leadership when others won’t.”
As Buzzfeed reminds us, Clinton has had laudable interactions with DREAMers in the past:
Clinton has been approached by activists on this issue before. In April, at a Clinton Foundation event in Manhattan, a 19-year-old attendee named Nova Bajamonti stood to ask Clinton a question, and tearfully announced “for the first time publicly” that she was an undocumented immigrant. Bajamonti told the story of how she left Croatia for the United States, but was unable to obtain a green card.
Clinton praised Bajamonti as “incredibly brave” and suggested she look into DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows young people brought to the U.S. as children to obtain legal status….
As soon as the event ended, Clinton Foundation staffers found Bajamonti, who was already under DACA at the time. Less than a week later, Bajamonti said this week, the Clinton Foundation connected her with an immigration lawyer to help provide and process her DACA renewal application free of charge.
…but she’s also been criticized for recent positions on immigrants:
Clinton, while on tour to promote her new memoir, said in an interview that the unaccompanied children at the border “should be sent back” to their families. The remark caused Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, in another interview, to ask Clinton if she had a “Latino problem.”
Meanwhile, she still hasn’t commented on Obama’s executive action delay, or how she would address immigration and deportations if she were to become President.