One of the nation’s largest immigrant advocacy groups is endorsing “the Squad” and several other progressive members of the House running for reelection in 2020.
United We Dream Action told BuzzFeed News on Thursday it will endorse the group of first-term progressive members of Congress including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.
The group is also endorsing seven other progressive candidates who have pushed for wide-scale immigration reform in the House, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Joaquin Castro, Raúl Grijalva, Chuy Garcia, Deb Haaland, Nydia Velazquez, and Adriano Espaillat.
“What’s clear to us in this moment is that the conversation we’re having … is about policy but it’s also about what does it mean to be a person of color in this country, who says you belong or you don’t,” said Greisa Martinez, United We Dream Action’s deputy executive director. “These folks that we are endorsing we believe carry within them the same analysis that’s really rooted in the conversation around race.”
Many of the progressives the group is endorsing are unlikely to face competitive primaries in 2020. But Martinez said the group wanted to endorse candidates with progressive immigration credentials now, particularly in the wake of the El Paso massacre, which targeted Latinx immigrants, and as recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) wait for the Supreme Court to decide the program’s fate in November. That has made the need for legislators who back comprehensive immigration reform even more pressing, she said.
“The way that United We Dream Action is thinking about this election is that this is the election of our lives. The lives of our members literally depend on the outcome of this election and what’s going to happen to our families,” Martinez said.
United We Dream Action was formed as an immigrant youth-led group and advocated for the passage of DACA, but now advocates for broader immigration reform.
“We thought about [candidates] who not only have an impact on their congressional district but who have been able to shape the conversation on a national level,” Martinez said. “They understand the complexities of our communities, they understand that it’s more than just DACA recipients, but that we have to be able to stop the billions of dollars that we’re giving to ICE and [Customs and Border Protection].”