Saturday, September 19, 2020

Democrats gear up to fight back against GOP senators on DACA

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Democrats and Latino-focused outside groups are preparing to use the forthcoming Supreme Court ruling on the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program against vulnerable Senate Republicans.

The high court is poised to rule any week now on whether President Trump’s termination of DACA was lawful. If the justices come down on his side, it would clear the path for the administration to strip protections for hundreds of thousands of DREAMers currently protected by the Obama-era program.

The decision could impact races for several seats Democrats are hoping to flip, such as those of Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Cory Garner (R-Colo.). If the Supreme Court rules in their favor, Latino groups say they will continue to engage voters around the issue of immigration, pointing to Trump’s broader hardline stance on the issue.

“As we’ve seen in the last three years, Trump has even gone as far as to use the pain and the fear of DACA recipients as a leverage to get more money for his wall and more funding for the deportation force,” said Cristina Jimenez, the executive director of United We Dream. DACA advocates and Democrats may face an uphill battle in breaking through the political noise in an election cycle that has been overrun by the coronavirus pandemic and widespread economic upheaval.

“The decision could get lost in the pandemonium,” said Chuck Rocha, a former senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) presidential campaign who now runs Nuestro PAC, a super PAC focused on Latino outreach and voter turnout. But a ruling as sweeping as eliminating DACA could prove to be a powerful motivating factor for Latino voters eager to see the program’s protections permanently enshrined into law, he said.

“Our community will not let that decision be lost and not heard. The PAC that I run, Nuestro PAC, if this decision is not favorable will use this in Senate races around the country,” Rocha said, pointing to McSally and Gardner as two potential targets. Democrats in both Arizona and Colorado say they plan to go on the offensive with DACA, pointing to the grassroots organizing on the issue already taking place in the states.

THE HILL