The Obama victory has made a huge difference for young Dream Act applicants seeking reprieves from deportation – administrative approvals leaped from 4,591 in October, when uncertainty hung over the election outcome, to 53,273 by one week after Obama’s win. In all, one million young people are eligible for the program.
During the campaign, Mitt Romney called for squeezing immigrant families so harshly that they would “self-deport.” Obama won 75 percent of the Latino vote, despite his prior record of massive deportations. In a moment of unusual candor, the president himself credited his victory to Latino voters in swing states.
In the electoral aftermath, it is likely that the Dreamers will seek to codify the Obama executive order, and passage of immigrant rights legislation has moved to the top of congressional priorities. If Tea Party Republicans continue stonewalling reform, the issue will be central to the 2014 congressional elections.