A year ago, president Obama announced a series of administrative actions in the area of immigration to shield millions of parents of U.S. citizens from deportation. The action, which was put on hold by the courts, is one of the central issues that Latino voters must keep in mind when the election comes.
The White House decision to protect those adults (DAPA) and to extend deferred action for people being brought here as children by their undocumented parents (DACA) was the result of the president’s free hand -without political pressure – after being sworn for his last term. This would not had happen without the stagnation in the House of Representatives of an immigration reform bill passed by the Senate.
It should be made clear that that the argument that what is blocking immigration reform is the White House unilateral action is false. This narrative implies that it was possible at some point that the House, under Republican control, would pass a comprehensive reform. This assertion has been repeated once and again by the GOP but there is nothing further than the truth. The only measures brought to the floor for a vote were punitive actions like the elimination of DACA, since the most extremist sector of the Republican majority controls the immigration issue.
It is a serious mistake to lump together the recently arrived undocumented immigrant with those who have been here for decides, raising a family and working honestly. DAPA beneficiaries are not criminals, they are fathers and mothers of American citizens who are also voters who will possibly remember those who compared their parents with criminals and want to separate their families.
We hope they will keep that in mind when the time to vote comes. They, more than anyone, know that behind every deportation figure there is a human being, a divided family. In the case of DAPA, there is a productive immigrant who is a victim of political resentment and ignorance. Let’s not forget that.