Any presidential candidate who wants to win Hispanic votes next year will need to pledge to take unilateral action to halt deportations, to break the links that allow local police to help enforce immigration laws and to stop prosecuting rank-and-file illegal immigrants at the border, a group of Dreamers said in a new policy paper Tuesday.
The Dream Action Coalition — activist young adult illegal immigrants who are in the country under color of President Obama’s 2012 deportation amnesty — issued an open letter to the presidential candidates saying Congress is unlikely to break its gridlock, so they are looking to the next White House occupant to continue the unilateral path President Obama laid out.
“While Congress is still re-learning to tie its shoes, the country needs an executive who will protect our families, that our broken immigration system, and equally broken Congress, have failed,” the coalition said.
That means expanding Mr. Obama’s policies to include more illegal immigrants, and offering those who have already been approved for the tentative deportation amnesty a chance to join the U.S. military.
Along with the open letter, the coalition issued a policy paper laying out changes in both interior and border enforcement. The Dreamers said agent brutality is a growing problem, comparing it to recent high-profile police shootings. And the activists said the government’s policies are too geared toward arresting, detaining and prosecuting rank-and-file illegal immigrants.
The open letter came just hours before Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to speak on immigration in Las Vegas.
Mrs. Clinton is expected to call for Congress to approve a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but the Dreamers insist she and other candidates must go further and vow to make use of presidential powers on their own.
On the GOP side, the field of presidential candidates has generally announced opposition to Mr. Obama’s unilateral actions, calling them illegal and saying they should be repealed by the next president.