How DAPA beneficiaries could influence the 2016 elections

They may not be able to vote, but their family is

How DAPA beneficiaries could influence the 2016 elections
Si DAPA sigue adelante y el futuro presidente quiere ampliarlo, se encontrará con más demandas legales.
Foto: Ciro Cesar / Impremedia/La Opinion


WASHINGTON DC. – Administrative reliefs face an uncertain fate, and although their beneficiaries –undocumented parents of U.S. citizens– by law cannot vote, they have the ability to influence the 2016 elections as well as future ones, according to a report released today.

Both the extension of the 2012 “Deferred Action” program (DACA) and the similar one for parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents, known as “DAPA” –announced on November 20th, 2014–, were stopped in the Court of Appeals, but the Obama Administration plans to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The report, released by the Center for American Progress (CAP) on the eve of the first anniversary of the announcement by President Barack Obama, analyzes the impact of the Differed Action program in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

The analysis calculates that 3.7 million adults would qualify for DAPA, while another 290,000 youth would benefit from the DACA extension.

The report also shows –as real-time data in Spanish– the high impact on the economy that would follow if the reliefs are not implemented: a cumulative daily loss of $8.4 million in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Focused on the Hispanic vote

The report suggests that it would be a mistake for Republican candidates, who oppose the Executive Action, to underestimate the impact that the Hispanic vote can have, considering that the situation surrounding DAPA can usher them to the polls.

Sociologist Manuel Pastor, co-author of the report, explained that the uncertainty surrounding DAPA disproportionately affects Hispanics: 82% of potential 2016 voters affected by DAPA are Latino. By 2020, that figure will ascend to an approximate 85%.

Overall, 6.3 million American citizens have family members that are eligible for DAPA, including more than 5.3 million children, and about one million partners or other relatives, said the CAP

By 2016, 1.5 million of that pool of citizens will be eligible to vote. This figure will rise to 2.25 million in 2020 and 6.3 million in 2032.

According to the authors of the report, titled “DAPA Matters The Growing Electorate Directly Affected by Executive Action on Immigration,” the importance of that possible universe of voters lies mainly in swing states, like Florida, Nevada and Colorado, which can determine the course of the 2016 elections.

Impact in 2016

The report comes with an interactive map that describes the potential impact of voters affected by DAPA in key states for the 2016 and 2020 elections, taking into account the margin of victory per state in the 2012 presidential elections.

For example, during the 2012 elections, the margin of Obama’s victory in Florida was 74,309 votes, but in 2016 there will be 59,722 potential voters affected by DAPA, that is, 80% of the margin of the previous victory. In 2020, that percentage will increase to 114%, or to about 85,000 votes.

Also, in 2016 voters affected by DAPA will be the 40% margin of victory recorded by Nevada in 2012, and 15% of Colorado that year. Those voters will make up 26% of the margin recorded in North Carolina, 29% in Arizona, and 11% in Georgia.

The percentages in those states will increase in 2020, though not as dramatically as in Florida.

In California, a state that traditionally votes Democratic, the margin of victory in 2012 was just over three million voters. In 2016, about 531,387 of its voters will be impacted by DAPA, or an 18% margin of victory.

In New York, the margin was almost two million voters in 2012, and there will be 78,678 voters affected by the suspension of the DAPA next year, or 4% compared to 2012 election results.

According to the report, immigration is one of the top priorities among Hispanic voters who will be paying attention to the candidates’ proposals regarding immigration topics.