Hillary Clinton announced a campaign initiative that will mobilize young, undocumented immigrants to try and bolster voter registration even though they themselves cannot vote.
On Sunday, the Democratic presidential nominee announced a new program called “Mi Sueño, Tu Voto/ My Dream, Your Vote,” on the four-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action Children Arrival program that temporarily shielded from deportation some young immigrants – the so-called “Dreamers” – who were brought to the country illegally as children and allowed them to work legally with renewable two-year work visas.
These 730,000 young people are prohibited from voting, but have proven themselves a powerful organizing force in American politics, mounting a high-profile public campaign that pressured Obama to grant many of them and their parents reprieve from deportation through two executive orders.
Clinton’s new program is part of an aggressive effort by her campaign to woo the record 27.3 million Latinos eligible to vote in 2016. Organizers will seek to remind voters that a Trump presidency would end the DACA program, which is already at risk after the Supreme Court effectively killed Obama’s efforts to give legal status to some of the 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, the campaign said.
A Fox News Latino poll released last week found that Trump is doing worse with Hispanic voters than Clinton by a 46-point margin.
Much of the new effort will focus on battleground states including Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Florida, where Latinos and other immigrants make up an important part of the voting base.
Though Obama's campaign had no formal organization program for Dreamers, door-knocking by those young immigrants, who have lived and attended school in the U.S., helped mobilize many Latino voters who could vote.
Clinton believes she can harness their power in a more formal way, particularly given her opponent. Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric has sparked outrage and fear within the Latino community.
He's promised to revoke Obama's executive orders within the first 100 days of his presidency, calling them the "most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president."
Clinton has made revamping the country's immigration system a key plank of her presidential campaign. She has said she will introduce legislation during her first 100 days in office, vowed to restore and expand Obama's programs, close private sector detention centers and to "take a very hard look at the deportation policies" now in force.
Last month, she called on Latino voters to help stop what she called GOP rival Donald Trump's efforts to "fan the flames of racial division."
"Donald Trump is running the most divisive campaign our lifetime. His message is that you should be afraid," she told a gathering of Latino activists In Washington. "We've got to come back twice as strong and twice as clear. We have got to say with one voice that Latinos are vital part of the American community."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.