Dems: Immigration decision will 'energize' Hispanic voters

Dems: Immigration decision will 'energize' Hispanic voters
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Democratic members of Congress on Thursday predicted that the Supreme Court’s refusal to allow President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will energize the Hispanic electorate, with potentially disastrous consequences for the GOP.

The Supreme Court Thursday blocked Obama’s expanded Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents in a 4-4 decision that Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) called a “blow to the Hispanic community.”

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Legislators converged with protesters on the steps of the Supreme Court to pan the decision.

“November is our chance to respond,” Sánchez said.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (D-Ill.) said he believed the Supreme Court would stand behind the president’s executive actions but that, given the ruling, he would ask the Department of Justice “to protect” immigrants covered by the programs.

Durbin blamed Senate Republicans for the split decision, saying the tie was a direct consequence on their failure to consider the president’s nominee to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) agreed, calling the ruling a “sign that Republicans in Congress have paralyzed our judicial system.”

Durbin took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLessons from the 1999 U.S. military intervention in Kosovo Five things to watch as AIPAC conference kicks off Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change MORE (R-Ky.), saying “he’s waiting for President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE to fill the vacancy.”

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made immigration a central issue in this election cycle, promising to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants and to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Those proposals have been ill-received in the Hispanic community, and most polls show Trump’s disapproval among Latinos wavering around the 80 percent mark.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) delivered an impassioned speech in Spanish asking Latinos not to give up and warning Republicans that Latino voters will turn out en masse to vote against them in November.

“Do you think you have triumphed?” Gutierrez asked. “Don’t worry about the 5 million” immigrants adversely affected by Thursday’s decision, he continued, “worry about the 45 million” Hispanics who are eligible voters.

Latino voters have traditionally had low participation numbers, but 2016 has set Hispanics and immigration at the center of the political stage, potentially energizing the country’s fastest growing electorate.

Jaime Contreras, a protester outside the court, said the decision didn’t “come as a surprise” but left him “more energized,” adding that “Latinos are finally going to come out in droves.”

Several battleground states for the presidential election have large Hispanic populations, and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Ex-Clinton aide: Dems should make 2020 'about integrity' Trump mounts Rust Belt defense MORE’s campaign is already spending money to court the Latino vote in Florida, Colorado and Nevada. 

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said the combination of Trump, “general distrust of the Republican party” and “a partisan court” will encourage Hispanics to come out to vote, and predicted that “if we have massive turnout we certainly have the Democrats taking back the Senate and you put the House in play.”