DACA, Immigration Key Midterm Issues

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As the campaigning for the 2018 midterm elections begins to ramp up, politicians position voter messages around issues like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, border security and immigration reform. Especially for those with a hefty constituency geared toward immigrant interests, the call to action centers on installing representatives who are ready, willing and able to move the progressive ball down the field.

Just as Donald Trump’s election to the presidency 2 years ago signaled a mandate for federal officials to adopt a more conservative approach than his predecessor, these subsequent midterm elections could ricochet in the near exact opposite direction. In other words, just as the notion of ambiguous border controls prompts conservative voters, the notion of blatantly unfair disregard for foreign-born interests tends to motivate more progressive voters.

Last September, President Trump set the wheels in motion to end the protection program introduced by President Obama in 2012. With his executive order in the fall, President Trump set DACA to end March 5 this year. However, court challenges mean the program continues– at least for the time being.

But besides the courts, immigration activists appear prepared to double down on their own particular position. For some, this means more rigidity in terms of enforcement. For others, the situation requires adopting looser controls in immigration system operations.

In Illinois, for instance, Rep. Daniel Lipinski tells voters in his district that he intends to offer support on any DACA bill introduced in the House, according to The Hill. Lipinski also supports strengthened border security, but he does not support the construction of a border wall.

For some constituents in the district, Lipinski’s level of commitment to immigrants falls far short of where it should. In response, progressive political action committee MoveOn.org purchased ads costing in the tens of thousands of dollars to argue efforts around immigration must step up.

“Dan Lipinski has opposed the Dream Act and supported the construction of a border wall,” MoveOn executive director Ilya Sheyman says. “His record on immigration and other issues, including a woman’s right to choose, LGBTQ equality, and the minimum wage shows he is way out of step with his constituents. It’s time for him to go.”

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