Against the sun and humidity of a hotMississippiday, a dozen DREAMers — named after the DREAM Act they are advocating for — gathered outside of Romney’s latest country club fundraiser.
The demonstrators chanted “Veto Romney, Not the DREAM Act”, a reference to the piece of legislation that would create a path to legal status for undocumented youth if they attend college or military service. Early in the primaries, the GOP candidate promised to veto the DREAM Act if it came to his desk.
Jacqueline Hernandez, aMississippiresident, who was brought fromEl Salvadorwhen she was 11 years old gave interviews to reporters eager to hear her story and the reason for the protest.
“We are here to show Romney that undocumented youth, as representatives of the Latino community in Mississippi, are united and will hold him accountable for his extreme immigration policies like self deportation,” said Jacqueline.
On a banner, the DREAMers were waiving a banner reading “’Repeal or Not Repeal? Which is it Romney?’” a reference to Romney’s unwillingness to answer whether he would roll back President Obama’s new immigration policy to stop the deportation of undocumented youth and veterans, even when prompted several times during an interview on Face the Nation.
Undocumented youth have started additional campaigns across the country to engage the Latino electorate in voting registration drives and to protect minority voting rights, affecting Latino, African Americans, and youth, from Republican purging efforts. With 90 percent of Latino supporting the DREAM Act, Mitt Romney boxed himself in a tough position entering into the general election.
The UnitedState’s Latino population has increased from about 35 million in 2000 to 50 million in 2010, and about 45 percent of the growth occurring in key presidential states including Florida, Colorado, and Nevada. The growth has also been occurring in southern states likeMississippi andTennessee. With races across the country coming down to the last vote, Latinos are looking to play a decisive role in the 2012 election cycle.