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This summer, DREAMers have put elected officials of both parties on notice, calling out Republicans for their votes against DACA and Democrats for the President’s recording-breaking deportations. Hillary Clinton, though not an elected official, became their latest target when she visited the Harkin Steak Fry in Iowa this weekend and met DREAMers who asked her about Obama’s immigration delay.
“Yay” she said, with a thumbs-up, to Monica Reyes from Waterloo, IA when she identified herself as a DREAMer. But when pressed to remark on the President’s delay she replied: “You know I think we need to elect more Democrats.“
Watch the video below:
DREAMers this weekend also connected with Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (IN-VT). Castro, during a San Antonio panel, commented on immigration advocates’ “strong passion and spirit” and called for it to morph into a “full-scale voter registration mobilization movement.” (In fact, nearly 50 immigrant and Latino advocacy groups today are announcing a new voter registration coalition that aims to sign up as many Latino voters as possible before the 2014 election.) Sanders, in Iowa, said that President Obama “should have acted” on executive action regardless of the political climate.
The success of the DREAMers’ questions this weekend — and this whole summer — indicates that DREAMers won’t be going away while there are still immigration reform questions to be asked. Hillary and other Democrats are going to have to figure out a better answer on immigration and executive action than the one she gave yesterday, which further called into question whether she would be a real champion for immigrants and Latinos if elected to the White House. Hillary’s answer about electing more Democrats also falls flat when considering the last two Democratic presidents. Her husband Bill signed three immigration laws in 1996* that made our broken immigration system much, much worse, or became a failed experiment in immigration enforcement. And immigrants have seen nearly two terms of record deportations with President Obama, the first of which saw Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate — and no action on immigration reform.
As Cesar Vargas, the Director of the Dream Action Coalition who was in Iowa confronting Clinton, said about her answer:
Hillary Clinton’s response is just one small representation of the lack of understanding of the Democrat party in general. She could not give any sort of real answer to any question on immigration, it was like we see coming from the White House, making us doubt that she would be any more effective in the same position as Obama.
Added Monica Reyes, the local DREAMer:
The answer is not electing more Democrats: it is about having the political courage to protect and keep families together. The reality is that DREAMers and Latinos are not ready for Hilary, unless she can show real leadership on immigration. Will she be a real advocate for immigrants or another ‘deporter in chief’?
Also watch Monica’s appearance on MSNBC with Jose Diaz-Balart, when she said she was “not really happy” with Hillary’s answer:
* The three laws President Bill Clinton signed affecting immigrants: The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA)