The Trump administration has been disastrous for all Americans, and undocumented youth in particular. Not only are their families at ongoing risk of separation, their immigration protections have been decimated. There’s a Supreme Court ruling right now that’s ordered the administration to fully reopen DACA to thousands of new applicants, but for over 130 days it’s just ignoring it like it didn’t even happen.
But young immigrants are fighting back. “In an election where 1 in 10 eligible voters is an immigrant,” the report continues, “and where the Latino electorate could play a decisive role in several battleground states, immigrant advocates see a window of opportunity to push for the changes they want to see in Washington and across the country.”
That’s included launching a $700,000 ad buy featuring the very families at stake, like 18-year-old Teddy and his DACA-protected sisters. “My sisters have DACA and Trump wants to deport them,” he says, noting the struggles that mixed-status families are facing due to the administration’s failed response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, both of my parents are unemployed due to COVID-19, and my sister’s the one paying all the bills.”
Cristina Jiménez, cofounder of UWDA PAC, told CNN that the pandemic has also effected their outreach efforts. “Many of our leaders who are volunteering … their family members have gotten sick or lost their jobs because of the pandemic,” she said.
“So Jimenez and other leaders of the organization decided its ‘Here to Stay Squad’—a volunteer team of youth, many of whom are undocumented—wouldn’t be canvassing in person this year as they’d originally planned,” the report said. “Instead, they’re meeting up remotely and focusing their campaign on phone- and text-banking,” and having Zoom meeting with leaders like Julián Castro that have helped lift up spirits.
And these young activists are playing a pivotal role in the election. Daily Kos’ Kerry Eleveld wrote last month that a survey “of 18-to-29 year olds from the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics not only showed Biden leading among the demographic by 33 points, 60%-27%, it also found nearly two-thirds of those voters (63%) saying they will ‘definitely be voting.’”
In Texas, which Democratic nominee Joe Biden has a real possibility of winning in 2020, young people are accounting for a significant number of early voters. “Four years ago, roughly 288,000 Texans between 18 and 29 voted by this point,” NBC News reported. “One week ahead of Election Day this cycle, more than 800,000 have.”
Young immigrants are fighting to save the soul of this nation in 2020. Voters need to fight like hell to protect them too. “It’s really important to me to be in this fight,” Guzman said to CNN. “We understand a little bit clearer than anybody what’s at stake.”
Young voters respond to text messages, and NextGen America is reaching out to young voters in 11 battleground states to make sure they have a plan to vote. Sign up to volunteer, and spend some time sending text messages to get out the vote.