Thursday, July 18, 2024

DACA Just the Latest Blow for Latino Voters

Almost a year ago, the long lines of early voters outside Cardenas market became a lasting image for the 2016 presidential cycle in Nevada, ultimately helping to deliver the state to Hillary Clinton. Today the shoppers at the mall are more hesitant when it comes to politics, feeling targeted by Trump’s latest decisions to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“Oh my God. It’s crazy what he’s doing right now, and I just had a kid,” said Marisol Hernandez. She motions to her baby, strapped in a baby seat and settled in her shopping cart.

It is clearer than ever that Latino voters feel under siege by Trump’s relentless attacks on the immigrant community, from calls for building a wall on the Mexican border through acts like pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was convicted of ignoring a judge’s order to relentlessly crack down on immigrants. Many believe Latino voters will be more energized than ever to hit the polls, posing a danger for Republicans hoping to retain their seats.

“Trump is casting a wide net and he is encouraging people to see someone maybe like me, the color of my skin, the texture of my hair and make an assumption and that just puts people in danger and that’s where the fear comes,” said Laura Martin, associate director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, which advocates for immigrants’ rights.

Many believe that Trump seems willing to sacrifice the Latino vote for the rural, white vote in middle America that helped get him elected. Democrats are jumping on the DACA decision to get Latino voters registered; while Latinos have historically sided with Democrats, their low turnout rates have prevented the realization of their full voting bloc potential. This may just change in 2018.