Washington, DC – As we noted in the aftermath of the 5th Circuit ruling against DACA, the Republican Party is moving closer to its longstanding goal of ending DACA and making Dreamers once again deportable and unemployable despite the unpopularity of doing so.
In the top-tier Senate races in Arizona and Nevada, Republican hostility to Dreamers is a vulnerability for the GOP candidates and an opportunity for Democrats to go on offense on an immigration topic while fighting for a long overdue legislative breakthrough.
In Arizona Senate debate, Mark Kelly steps up for Dreamers and calls out Blake Masters
In last night’s Senate debate in Arizona, incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly leaned into his support for Dreamers and blasted Blake Masters’ opposition to Dreamers’ citizenship, while deftly addressing the larger border and immigration attacks being lobbed by Masters and other Republicans who have made the issue a dominant – and ugly – focus of their campaign.
- Sen. Kelly’s leans into contrast on supporting Dreamers (video clip): “We have tens of thousands of Dreamers here in the state of Arizona that are as American as my own two kids. My daughter lives in Tucson, my granddaughter lives in Tucson – I think of Dreamers no different. My opponent Blake Masters, on the other hand, he said he would never offer citizenship to Dreamers. I think it’s mean and it’s fundamentally un-American.”
- Sen. Kelly again shows how to confidently address immigration and border attacks – lean into solutions and draw contrasts with GOP politicization of issue (video clip). Sen. Kelly’s “both/and” approach on immigration – pro-legalization, pro-border security – worked in his 2020 contest against Rep. Martha McSally and seemed an effective answer last night. After distancing himself from Biden’s border record and messaging and highlighting his own work on proposed solutions, Kelly noted: “Republicans just want to talk about it, complain about it, and actually not do anything about it. They just want to politicize that. And we heard this tonight from my opponent Blake Masters … He thinks he knows better than everyone about everything.”
In Nevada, GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt’s demonstrated hostility to Dreamers
In Nevada, reacting after Democratic Senator incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto voiced her strong support for Dreamers, prominent Nevada-based Dreamer Astrid Silva pointed out (Tweet w/ video clip):
“Idk if anybody knows this, but her opponent is the Attorney General who signed Nevada into the lawsuit against DACA which has led us to now be in this eternal limbo.”
- It’s true – Nevada GOP Senate nominee Adam Laxalt is the former AG who joined Nevada onto the Texas-led lawsuit against DACA that has kept Dreamers in continued limbo and threatens to officially end the popular and successful DACA program in the very near future.
- Additionally, Laxalt ran radio ads in Las Vegas and Elko during the contested GOP Senate primary touting his hostility to Dreamers. As Axios reported, “the radio ads tout Laxalt’s tenure as the state’s attorney general for suing the federal government and ‘stopping unconstitutional attempts to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.’”
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
“It is simple: Republicans don’t have any solutions, whether addressing the plight of Dreamers or even border security. Instead they like to linger on the problem or use immigrants as political pawns. Their ongoing hostility to Dreamers is unpopular and at odds with the wishes and needs of states like Arizona and Nevada. In these states and across the country, tens of thousands of Dreamers are fully integrated into communities, families and the economy, contributing work as valued employees in the same states in which they’ve grown up and gone to school. Republican hostility to Dreamers is toxic and more Democratic candidates should be calling the GOP out.
As Mark Kelly artfully demonstrated at last night’s Arizona debate, Democrats can lean in and address the status of Dreamers and broader immigration issues in a way that is popular and politically beneficial – including by highlighting how Republicans’ growing extremism and hostility to Dreamers is repellent to voters and a liability for Republicans.”