Dreamers to Hillary: Do better on deportation relief


Young undocumented immigrants might not have a vote, but they have a voice — and they plan to use it during the 2016 election.

In light of Hillary Clinton’s decision to run for president, Fusion asked three Dreamers what issues she should tackle first.

Immigration was at the top of the list, particularly where she stands on President Obama’s deportation relief programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

Clinton has shown support for both programs — which together would grant deportation relief to an estimated 5 million people — but hasn’t been outspoken enough, according to the young people interviewed by Fusion. All three are enrolled in the DACA program and have relatives who are currently vulnerable to deportation.

Here’s what they said:

Maria Fernanda Cabello
Age: 24
Born: Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Job: Field organizer, United We Dream

My parents didn’t qualify for the DAPA announcement, so I want to hear from her how she’s going to make sure that they’re able to be protected from deportation and can move out of the shadows. I think that’s one of the biggest things.

Also, for Obama’s announcement, all she did was tweet her support, but outside of that, we haven’t heard much from her. Every time Dreamers in Iowa would confront her, she never said much about the program.

Women’s Rights
I think that women’s rights is something that continues be impactful, especially here in Texas. Women’s healthcare is something that is being put at the hands of big business instead of something that you should have a right to. So that’s another thing that I would like her to talk about.

Martin Negrete
Age: 21
Born: Aguascalientes, Mexico
Hometown: Everett, Washington
School: Eastern Washington University
Volunteers: Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA)

I would like for her to step out publicly, state if she’s going to keep supporting DACA and DAPA, and if she’s going to keep fighting for immigration reform.

Based on some of the things that she’s done in the past, I think she has a little bit of a ways to pull herself back into the face of the immigration and undocumented individuals’ issues. She tried to take away licenses from undocumented immigrants when she was a senator in New York [Note: New York does not offer driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, but Clinton came out against such a proposal while vying for her party’s presidential nomination in 2007].

There are some things where she’s been kind of contradicting herself with these issues. There’s a little bit of a loss of credibility with her fighting for immigration reform.

On police using deadly force against non-whites

I would also like for her to talk about what resources are going to be given to the communities affected to help them out and form better relationships with the police.

Olivia Vazquez
Age: 20
Born: Puebla, Mexico
Hometown: Philadelphia
School: Philadelphia Community College
Volunteers: Juntos

What are her views on DACA? Does she promise that she’s going to keep it intact the way it is?

Also, people who already have DACA, they’re safe from deportations, but there’s other people who are not, just like my mom, who has been here for a long time. They pay taxes, they contribute to the economy. What’s a way that she can stop their deportations?

At least in the state of Pennsylvania, there’s no law that says that undocumented students can’t apply to college. However, we have a huge issue that makes it impossible to go to college, because we can’t get any financial aid.

Any student is an investment; all this money is put into them. So how are they going to help us to finish so that we can give back to the economy?

Quotes were edited for length and clarity.

Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin