NEW YORK – In another indication of his effort to woo Latino voters for 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has added another prominent Dreamer to his campaign.
The Vermont Senator’s campaign hired longtime immigration activist Erika Andiola, 28, as a Latino outreach strategist for the Southwest region.
“We are excited to have Erika Andiola on the team,” Arturo Carmona, the campaign’s Latino outreach director, told Fox News Latino in a statement.
Andiola, who is undocumented, begins working on Monday. BuzzFeed was the first to report the Sanders campaign had hired Andiola.
She joins a handful of other prominent activists working for the Sanders campaign. Cesar Vargas, 31, who became the first undocumented immigrant to be permitted to practice law in New York state, was hired last week.
“Erika's personal story as a Mexican undocumented woman with an undocumented family and a long history of advocacy for Latinos speaks directly to the campaign's commitment to fight for immigrants, Latinos and working-class Americans in every community across the country,” Carmona said.
Andiola made national headlines in 2013 when she uploaded a video to YouTube following the raid of her home where immigration officials detained her mother and brother. She used the national attention to push the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to allow them to stay in the country.
Andiola went on to co-found the immigrant rights group Dream Action Coalition and served as a congressional staffer for Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.
Sanders has gained a lot of ground in the last few months on the Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. But while he has been drawing large crowds of white progressives to his rallies, he is virtually unknown to the critical Latino electorate. It is something that he and his staff have acknowledged in the past, and his campaign is now using his $26 million war chest to get Hispanics to “Feel the Bern.”
"Sen. Sanders doesn't have the name ID with Latinos that Clinton does, but we see that as a good thing," Carmona told FNL last month. "Our resources are now being used to invest in grassroots mobilization efforts. We're putting together a very aggressive program."
Sanders is not the only one increasing his outreach to immigrants. The Clinton campaign hired prominent immigration activist Lorella Praeli as Latino outreach director in May.