Dems: Immigration decision will 'energize' Hispanic voters

Dems: Immigration decision will 'energize' Hispanic voters
© Getty Images

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.”


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 DurbinLet's stop treating student borrowers like second-class citizens Trump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw Hillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group 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 McConnellOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act House Dem cites transgender grandson in voting for Equality Act MORE (R-Ky.), saying “he’s waiting for President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpComey: Barr is 'sliming his own department' GOP Mueller critic says Flynn contacted him during special counsel probe: report Acting DHS secretary threatened to quit after clashing with Miller: report 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 ClintonTop Dem: Trump helps GOP erase enthusiasm gap; Ohio a big problem The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump threatens jail time over 'treason' and 'spying' Several factors have hindered 'next up' presidential candidates in recent years 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.”