Week Ending June 19
This week in immigration reform: celebration of DACA’s anniversary; economic and electoral impact of deferred action; and lessons learned on how to appeal to the Latino community.
NCLR, Members of Congress, and Community Activists Celebrate three-year anniversary of live-changing DACA program: This Monday marked the third anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that has helped over 650,000 aspiring Americans work toward the American dream. Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), highlighted the success of the program, saying, “Living without the constant fear of deportation empowers more people to pursue higher education, enter the workforce, contribute to our economy and create a brighter future for this nation. DACA has been one of the only successful and sensible immigration policies to come out of Washington in decades.”
NCLR has been producing a blog series titled “Living the American DREAM,” telling the stories of hard-working DREAMers. In celebration of DACA, we compiled the series into a publication to show the human element of immigration and the need for reform. This week, Congressman Cuellar (D-Texas) and Congressman Tonko (D-N.Y.) tweeted our blog sharing the story of DREAMer Katherine Perez.
Many Members of Congress shared DACA stories on the floor this week, including Senator Kaine (D-Va.), who shared the story of Hareth Andrade (included in our publication), and Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.). Congressmen Costa (D-Calif.), Polis (D-Colo.), Hoyer (D-Md.), and Cardenas (D-Calif.) spoke on the House floor and their colleagues in the Senate joined them with speeches by Senators Heinrich (D-N.M.), Murray (D-Wash.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Reid (D-Nev.), and Menendez (D-N.J.).
New reports demonstrate economic and electoral impact of deferred action programs: This week the Center for American Progress updated a previous report on the national economic benefits of expanded DACA and DAPA that showed DACA, expanded DACA, and DAPA would grow the US economy by $230 billion over 10 years. The new interactive report posted this week shows state-level benefits for 37 states and Washington, DC. Texas, which is currently leading the charge to end the deferred action programs, would benefit the most from the programs, with an estimated $38,271,000,000 cumulative increase in state GDP. Of all 26 states who are suing the Obama Administration to eliminate expanded DACA and DAPA, CAP has state-level data for 18 of them. In total, those 18 states would see a cumulative increase in GDP of almost $92 billion.
President Obama’s deferred action programs would have a significant economic impact on states, but they also have political and electoral implications. A piece written by Latino Decisions outlines the impact of DACA, including its rise as a litmus test for candidates on immigration reform and the boost original DACA gave to President Obama en route to reelection.
Former Romney campaign staffer warns GOP of past missteps: In a piece published in Politico, Katie Packer Gage, deputy campaign manager of Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency in 2012, reflects on how rhetoric on immigration during the GOP primary harmed the party in the general election. Gage cites research from her firm that found hardline immigration positions cost more general elections votes for a candidate than they earn in the primary. Gage writes:
Voters under age 35 and college-educated white women are most turned off by the hottest anti-immigrant rhetoric. Since Hillary Clinton has the clearest path to the Democratic nomination, Republicans can’t afford to surrender a single vote in these groups, which President Barack Obama won handily, without a fight. They will be pivotal to winning the White House next year.
The numbers don’t lie. To grow our party — and win the White House in November 2016 and beyond — Republican candidates need to resist the temptation to characterize one another as soft on immigration.
Instead, they should stake out specific, realistic, pro-immigration reform plans that demonstrate to all voters the Republican Party’s commitment to making the American Dream a reality for all.