President Donald Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival policy is expected to spur Latino — and possibly Asian — voter turnout next year, which would make reelection more difficult for Southern California’s six Republican Congress members already targeted by Democrats.
Two of the targeted members — Fullerton’s Ed Royce and Laguna Beach’s Mimi Walters — have spoken favorably of proposed legislation that would allow many of those brought to the country illegally as children to remain after DACA’s scheduled end next March.
But even that might not protect those House members from the election repercussions of Trump’s decision.
“It will boost turnout for sure,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a UC Riverside political scientist specializing in immigration policy. Latinos, who traditionally lag well behind other ethnicities in mid-term election participation, overwhelmingly favor Democrats when they do vote.
“The question is not how they’ll vote, but whether they’ll vote,” Ramakrishnan said. “I think we’ll see a lot of marches in the year ahead. I think we’ll see higher than usual mid-term turnout not just from Latinos but from all young voters, many of whom have grown up with the Dreamers who will be subject to deportation.”
He noted that one in eight Asian immigrants in this California is here without proper documentation, which has contributed to Asian American voters also being particularly sensitive to the issue.
Trump has called on Congress to address immigration during the six months before DACA expires. Already, there are proposals being discussed that would continue to provide legal protections for DACA recipients. Passage of such a measure could dilute the ballot-box damage to vulnerable Republicans, but Ramakrishnan and other experts doubt such a bill will win approval.
In 2013, a measure that would have provided a path to citizenship for many of those in the country illegally passed the Senate with bipartisan support. But House Republicans balked. While there were enough House Republicans to join with Democrats to pass the measure, Republican House Speaker John Boehner declined to bring the matter to a vote because a majority of Republicans opposed it.
Current House Speaker Paul Ryan, also a Republican, has spoken in favor of passing a measure to protect DACA recipients. But Ramakrishnan and UC Irvine political scientist Louis DeSipio are among those who don’t see Ryan allowing a vote…