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What’s at Stake this November: Whether DREAMers in America are Protected or Deported

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Two of the 750,000 Targeted by Trump and GOP for Deportation Tell Their Story

Donald Trump consistently promises that on Day One of his presidency he will immediately end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers. Trump’s election poses a real threat to a real program that is a real benefit for approximately 750,000 DACA recipients, their families, and the communities in which they live and work. A number of these DACAmented Americans have been speaking out recently, reminding us that DREAMers’ futures are on the line with this election.

In a Medium piece published earlier this week, DACA recipient Juan Escalante of America’s Voice writes that:

“DACA represents opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people across the country — many of whom are working to provide for their families, enrolling to pursue a career, or finding new and innovative ways to contribute to their communities … My ability to remain in the United States hinges on the 2016 general election, which is why I hope you will help protect DACA by voting for candidates who will ensure the United States continues to be an inclusive and welcoming nation.”

Read Juan Escalante’s Medium post, “What Donald Trump Means for Undocumented Immigrants Like Me,” here.

And in a new Univision op-ed, prominent Nevada Dreamer Astrid Silva reflects on the implications of a Trump presidency for DREAMers and the DACA program and makes the case that the DACA program for DREAMers should also be a motivating and deciding factor in the Nevada Senate race between GOP nominee Rep. Joe Heck and Democratic nominee Catherine Cortez-Masto. Silva writes in part:

“If Donald Trump has his way, it’s likely that even DREAMers like myself, who, as President Obama has said, are Americans in our hearts and minds, would be deported to places we cannot remember or call home. Recently, Donald Trump, Jr. told a Las Vegas TV station that, under a Trump Administration, I could end up on a list of future deportees. He callously referred to his father’s policy of indiscriminate deportation as “egalitarian.”

I am incredibly fortunate to have a deep bench of friends in public service who rushed to my defense. Not all undocumented immigrants are as lucky. That’s why they need voters to be their voice in this election by voting for candidates who support comprehensive immigration reform and have the courage to stand up to Trump’s xenophobia.

In Nevada, the choice is clear. As our senator, Catherine Cortez Masto will stand with immigrants and push for a permanent solution to our country’s broken immigration system. She supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with deep roots in this country. Furthermore, as the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, she recognizes the contributions our community has made to Nevada and the nation. She has a longstanding record of fighting for and defending Nevada’s Latino and undocumented communities. As Attorney General she cracked down on and prosecuted Notario fraud and unlicensed medical providers who target immigrant families and undocumented workers. She also secured increased funding for victims of sexual and domestic violence, including funds for grants to assist victims petitioning for U-Visas. Catherine has always been there to protect our families.

Her opponent, Congressman Joe Heck, can’t muster the courage to stand up to Donald Trump when he calls Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists.” And we heard nothing but silence from Joe Heck after Donald Trump Jr. called for the deportation of DREAMers. Joe Heck has endorsed Trump and followed in his footsteps. This comes as no surprise to Nevada DREAMers. After all, Congressman Heck voted four times to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and supported an amendment by the anti-immigrant congressman best known for calling DREAMers drug traffickers with “calves the size of cantaloupes” that would have made it easier to deport young immigrants. And he blamed local immigration activists who were collaborating with him for his failure to introduce an immigration reform bill in the House. Heck has said he opposes the DREAM Act and birthright citizenship, and we should believe him – he counts Sheriff Joe Arpaio among his friends and supporters. Joe Heck is more interested in paying lip service and lying about his record during election season than actually working to help hardworking families.

As Nevadans cast their ballot on November 8th and during early voting, I hope they will consider what type of person they want representing our state in the Senate: a leader who will stand up for immigrant families and against bigotry, or an opportunist willing to hitch his wagon to Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign. I am with Catherine.”

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 DACA recipients like Juan and Astrid do not face deportation on the first day of the next presidency.

DACA Recipients By State, via Migration Policy Institute: