On Sept. 5 2017, the Trump administration announced the end of a program that protects undocumented immigrants who arrived as children, known as DACA and started by the Obama administration in 2012.When can we expect to see Mueller indicting some of these ladies for "Fraud Against the United States?", his all around favorite charge.
That date was crucial for Maria, a domestic worker and native of Argentina who lives in Miami-Dade and has two children, 21 and 23 years old, who are among the 800,000 beneficiaries of DACA.
“That Sept. 5 I said, ‘I have to do something. I have to contribute my two cents for the change I want to see,” said Maria, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she’s undocumented. “There’s a big risk for us. The risk of losing my children’s education, the house, everything we have built here.”
That’s how Maria, who arrived on a tourist visa in 2000 and overstayed it to settle in Miami because of an economic crisis in Argentina, wound up working to turn out the vote in the midterm elections.
Maria cannot vote, but has knocked on dozens of doors around Miami to urge those who can to vote.
She’s part of a growing number of people who cannot vote because they are undocumented or green card holders but are hitting the streets to urge voters to cast their ballots.
Their goal is to persuade voters to support candidates who promise to protect immigrants, because they understand that their future in this country is at risk and depends on those votes. Although President Donald Trump is not on the ballot, they are working to turn the midterm elections into a referendum on presidential policies and rhetoric they view as anti-immigrant.
“It’s something we have seen before, people who cannot vote working to get out the vote. But this year, we’re seeing impressive numbers,” said Andrea Cristina Mercado, executive director of New Florida Majority, which works to increase electoral participation among communities of color.
“And it’s not just a referendum, because we also have the opportunity to win the Senate and the House. If we want to stop Trump we have to win one of the two,” said Mercado. “So this is a referendum with very serious political consequences.”
In previews years, undocumented immigrants have joined campaigns to get out the vote. But they have mostly been so-called Dreamers who were brought to the United States as children, studied in U.S. schools and are more politically savvy.
Many of them have become prominent voices in the national conversation on immigration. Several worked in the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns and others support moderate Republican members of Congress.
But this election season it’s not just the Dreamers pitching in. It includes their parents, aunts, uncles and neighbors, people who clean homes or schools or take care of the elderly and the sick. Some don’t speak English very well and are still learning how the U.S. electoral system works.
One Republican political analyst said the participation of immigrants who are undocumented in electoral campaigns, although valuable as a human resource, could turn into a double-edged sword.
“Before, the most polarizing issues for voters were social issues such as abortion, gun control and gay marriage. In the current political climate, the most polarizing issue is immigration,” said Jesse Manzano-Plazas, a Miami Republican consultant and political analyst.
“There may be people who don’t like that an undocumented person is trying to influence elections in this country. That’s where they have to be very careful with their message,” Manzano-Plazas added. “It’s an advantage only if it’s handled in an effective way.”
To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the Government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest. It is not necessary that the Government shall be subjected to property or pecuniary loss by the fraud, but only that its legitimate official action and purpose shall be defeated by misrepresentation, chicane or the overreaching of those charged with carrying out the governmental intention.