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Donald Trump’s core and consistent immigration pledges are not just words on a teleprompter, but a real threat to thousands of Floridians, especially the nearly 50,000 who have temporary legal status under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Beyond the personal toll on families and communities, studies show that ending DACA would also stop a potential engine for growing Florida’s economy. According to the Center for American Progress, fully adopting President Obama’s executive order on immigration would spur a cumulative state GDP increase of $6.1 billion and provide a $4.1 billion cumulative increase in the incomes of all state residents.
Trump has said that on Day One of his presidency he would end DACA for DREAMers and rescind all other immigration executive orders, breaking up families and potentially throwing local economies into chaos. One of those DREAMers who would be affected by Trump’s radical immigration plan is America’s Voice’s Juan Escalante, who writes in a new Medium post that his future hinges on this election and people voting for “candidates who will ensure the United States continues to be an inclusive and welcoming nation.”
“In my home state of Florida, the stakes are even higher for the immigrant community,” writes Escalante. “Senator Marco Rubio is running for reelection by promising to end DACA and promoting an anti-immigrant agenda that mirrors that of Donald Trump, which is why it crucial for Latinos and immigrants to engage in the election and stay informed on candidates’ positions.”
Media reports over the last several weeks have highlighted how crucial Latino voter turnout is this election season. Recent polling conducted by Latino Decisions on behalf of America’s Voice found that protecting the DACA program – and DACA recipients – is a motivating issue for Florida’s Latino voters both in the presidential election and U.S. Senate race.
A majority of Latinos (56%) said that Marco Rubio’s positions – backing away from past support for comprehensive immigration reform and opposing DACA and DAPA – made them less likely to vote for him. On the flipside, 67% of Latino voters said Patrick Murphy’s pro-comprehensive immigration reform and pro-DACA and DAPA stances made them more likely to vote for him.
Even worse for Rubio, 58% of Latino voters also said that they would be less likely to vote for Marco Rubio if they knew he was supporting Donald Trump, which he has consistently made clear that he does. Rubio’s saving grace? Perhaps it’s that a significant majority — 47% – said that they were unfamiliar with his overall immigration position. Perhaps that’s why Rep. Murphy was quick to point out his own position differences with Rubio at a campaign stop in West Tampa Monday, emphasizing how comprehensive immigration reform could cut the deficit, stimulate the economy, and address the nation’s security needs without breaking up families.
So what’s at stake with this election? Why should Latino voters and other Americans who care about DREAMers vote? One reason: to ensure that Floridians like Juan who contribute to the economic and social fabric of our communities do not lose their jobs and once against face deportation on the first day of the next presidency.
Read Juan Escalante’s new Medium post, “What Donald Trump Means for Undocumented Immigrants Like Me,” here.