CHARLOTTE — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announced a new Latino outreach initiative Sunday focused on mobilizing young undocumented immigrants to highlight their risk of deportation if Donald Trump becomes president, with the aim of inspiring others in their communities to vote in November.
So-called "dreamers," who in many cases were brought to the country illegally as children, do not have the right to vote, but their stories have the potential to motivate friends, classmates and co-workers to go to the polls with their fate in mind, the Clinton campaign said. A bill to grant them legal status, known as the Dream Act, has been introduced in Congress several times but has failed to pass.
Illegal immigration has become a flash point in the presidential race, with Trump, the Republican nominee, pledging mass deportations and offending many Hispanics with derisive comments about Mexicans and a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University. Trump has said his support among Hispanics is stronger than many realize.
Among the programs at issue is President Obama’s 2012 initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has offered temporary exemptions from deportation to those who entered the country before age 16 and are either in school or high school graduates and still young adults.
Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has promised to follow Obama’s lead in trying to expand the program — despite resistance in the courts — while Trump is widely expected to dismantle it if he wins the White House.
The announcement of Clinton’s new outreach effort, timed to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Obama’s DACA initiative, is the latest in a series of actions her campaign has undertaken to expand the Latino vote, which polling suggests is breaking heavily her way.
Clinton’s campaign said the new effort, dubbed "Mi Sueño, Tu Voto" (“My Dream, Your Vote”), will be highlighted at several events around the country this week, including in Florida, Nevada and North Carolina — all states where the Hispanic vote is a growing force.
"We may not have the right to vote, but ‘Mi Sueño, Tu Voto’ will help ensure that our stories are heard, and it will send a clear signal to Donald Trump that we cannot be silenced," said Astrid Silva, a Nevada immigrant rights activist who is supporting Clinton.