Originally published at Juan’s Medium page.
Last February, I wrote about how Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric posed a very real threat to millions of immigrants across the United States.
Since the publishing of this essay, Donald Trump has become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, the GOP has embraced Trump’s xenophobic agenda, white nationalists have rejoiced and certified racists like David Duke have been emboldened to run for federal office.
With less than 50 days until the general election, the Republican Party’s platform on immigration is to deport millions of undocumented immigrants like myself and build a “beautiful” border wall on the U.S. - Mexico border. There’s also another step Donald Trump has vowed to take on day one: Ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. With that one action, Trump would immediately disrupt the lives of 750,000 young immigrants like me. We would lose our access to driver’s licenses, work permits, and temporary relief from deportation.
DACA represents opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people across the country — many of whom are working to provide for their families, enrolling into their dream college to pursue a career, or finding new and innovative ways to contribute to their communities.
What separates DACA beneficiaries from their peers is the ability to adjust their immigration status, which means that not only are we unable to vote; but we are dependent on a temporary immigration program that provides us with the ability to live without the constant fear of deportation.
These are the stakes for immigrants like myself in this election.
Our livelihood and fragile stability in the United States is threatened by a man who refers to immigrants as “rapists,” murderers,” and “drug dealers,” and a political party that refuses to challenge his racism and xenophobia.
Furthermore, Republican Party officials have done little to condemn and denounce the increasing violence against minorities and immigrants at the hand of Trump supporters.
— America's Voice (@AmericasVoice) September 12, 2016
There are currently 11 million people living in the United States without papers who, like myself, deserve a life of dignity and respect. That’s why we fought and ultimately won pro-immigrant programs like DACA.
In my home state of Florida, the stakes are even higher for the immigrant community. Senator Marco Rubio is running for reelection by promising to end DACA and promoting an anti-immigrant agenda that mirrors that of Donald Trump, which is why it crucial for Latinos and immigrants to engage in the election and stay informed on candidates’ positions.
— Juan Escalante (@JuanSaaa) September 7, 2016
If you are reading this, and you are an eligible voter, I hope that you recognize that immigrants like my family and me counting on you to help protect DACA and elect candidates who will commit to fixing our nation’s broken immigration system.
My ability to remain in the United States hinges on the 2016 general election, which is why I hope you will help protect DACA by voting for candidates who will ensure the United States continues to be an inclusive and welcoming nation.
Follow Juan Escalante @JuanSaaa.