Deportations and Clinton’s Latino Outreach

Deportations and Clinton’s Latino Outreach

Hillary Clinton has come under fire for failing to sufficiently galvanize Latinos, a bloc of voters key to Democrats in both the presidential and Senate contests. The Washington Post this week quoted critics saying Clinton had run too few Spanish-language ads, and spent too little on targeted messaging.

But there may be another reason why Clinton’s performance lags behind President Obama’s in 2012: Obama’s own deportation policies, which have drawn fire from Latinos on several fronts. These include the Obama administration’s deportations of the children who crossed the border in droves two years ago to flee violence in Central America. Overall, the administration deported 2.4 million people between fiscal 2009 and 2014. And non-criminal deportees outnumber those charged with crimes.

Deportation orders dipped when Obama signed the executive order known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would have shielded several classes of immigrants from deportation. But a series of state lawsuits and a Supreme Court deadlock have blocked the administration from implementing that order, and Latinos remain frustrated. Some of that frustration seems to be spilling over to Clinton—despite widespread Latino antipathy to Trump.

“People are very disappointed and they don’t want to vote,” said Adriana Cazorla, a domestic worker from Washington state. “They don’t want to be guilty of putting a person in office who will do the same as [Obama].”

Cazorla made her comments Friday at a march from the Supreme Court to the White House organized by the National Alliance for Domestic Workers and several allied groups. The march brought out hundreds of immigrant women, many of them undocumented, to deliver a message to Obama: Stop the deportations.

Dubbed the Immigrant Women’s Walk Against Deportations, the event took place on the one-year anniversary of last year’s 100-mile march for immigration reform. Before the march Cazorla told The American Prospect how she had been hiding from an abusive husband when he found her and called immigration officials. She was detained for four months in a detention center.

“I was treated badly, given spoiled food, had no access to potable water or medical attention like the rest of the people did,” Cazorla says of her time in the detention center. Cazorla says she now has legal status thanks to the Violence Against Women Act—but that her children, who were without their mother for four months, suffered the most during her detention. The separation of families was a big point of contention for the marchers and their supporters.

“Many children worry about it,” Cazorla said with tears in her eyes. “They go to school with fear that they’ll go back home and their parents won’t be there.”

Marcher Patricia Rosas described how she immigrated to the United States from Mexico more than two decades ago with her children. But four years ago, her son was deported back to Mexico. “I brought him here when he was one year old,” said Rosas, “so he was basically raised here. When he got to Mexico, he didn’t know what to do or where to go.” Rosas’s son left behind a wife and a two-year-old son. “He wanted to be with his son, so he tried to come back,” explained Rosas, “but he was apprehended and was deported again.”

Rosas said she was marching in hope that DAPA would become law so, that “after 26 years, I can see my mom and my siblings again.”