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Will the election of a new President jeopardize Deferred Action?

One of the most common questions we hear at Community Forums from Dreamers is whether a new President can resume deportations of Dreamers. We have no way of knowing which way the political winds will blow in the future and every Dreamer must reach a decision based on his or her comfort level. Without professing to be fortune tellers however, we believe the answer is likely no – for the following reasons:

Rising importance of the Latino Vote: In previous elections, the Latino vote was less of a factor because states that had the heaviest Latino populations were solid Republican or Democrat states. In this election cycle however, there is a significant presence of Latino voters in swing states such as Virginia, Colorado and Ohio to name a few. I don’t want to overestimate the importance of Latino voters in swing states (there is still a high percentage of eligible voters who do not vote), but it is significant enough that both parties will be focusing their efforts on campaigning towards issues that are important to Latinos, such as ceasing the deportation of Dreamers. In addition, even if a Republican president is elected, he is not likely to overturn the policy change enacted by Obama, because it would likely be very costly politically.

Increasing support for immigration reform from Americans. Polls have also shown that Americans are increasingly on board with the idea that immigration reform is needed. Soon after President Obama announced the policy change on Deferred Action, a Bloomberg poll revealed that likely voters favored Obama’s immigration stance by a 2-1 margin. This is not to say there aren’t parts of the country that don’t agree whatsoever, but we believe the tide is turning in favor of immigration reform.

Now that we have covered 2 main reasons why we don’t believe a new President could overturn President Obama’s immigration policy, the question is what can Dreamers and their supporters do in the meantime to ensure that Deferred Action is not in jeopardy of being revoked and how can we push through comprehensive immigration reform?

1. Continue to engage in civic activism: If there’s one thing that Dreamers have taught us – it’s that they understand the most American of traits – how to organize and engage their government! Our law firm is proud to be based in Los Angeles, where youth driven civic groups such as Dream Team Los Angeles (DTLA) and United We Dream (UWD) organized and staged protests that were instrumental in getting the Executive Branch pay attention to the alarming amount of Dreamers being deported.

Listening to leaders from DTLA speak at the APALC community forum on July 11, 2012 I was heartened to see that they are not done with their activism. DTLA and other groups are now focusing on ensuring that Dreamers get a fair shot at Deferred Action and they are maintaining the pressure on the administration. Get involved now and keep the pressure going because politicians will listen.

2. Encourage everyone you know who can vote, to vote! One of the sad shortcomings of our Democracy, as advanced as it is, is that large swathes of people do not vote. Dreamers cannot vote for obvious reasons and therefore it is important that if you know anyone who supports Dreamers, get them to register to vote.

3. Set a good example & stay out of trouble. Dreamers have been able to shame the administration into ceasing deportations of Dreamers because they are largely a great group of kids who have worked hard and abide by the law. It is important to continue to be a positive influence on your community. If you get into any legal trouble, please hire legal counsel to defend you so that you may preserve your right to apply for Deferred Action.

In conclusion, although we are not fortune-tellers, at Dream Law we are confident that Deferred Action will not be overturned under a new President because of the rising voting power of the Latino community and the increased support from the American public for immigration reform. In addition, by continuing to engage in activism and encouraging supporters to vote, we can help not only ensure that Deferred Action remains intact, but that comprehensive immigration reform is also passed in the near future.