BUZZFEED POLITICS | WASHINGTON — The children of undocumented immigrants, known in the capital as the DREAMers, warned President Obama Wednesday not to toy with them to score political points as he shifts the White House’s focus back to immigration following the end of the fiscal battle.
Cesar Vargas, executive director of the DREAM Action Coalition — a group known for high-profile actions featuring children of undocumented immigrants raised for most of their lives in the United States — said Wednesday he’s cautiously optimistic that House Republicans could be persuaded to take up immigration reform after seeing their poll numbers collapse through the government shutdown. But as Democrats and the White House geared up to take advantage of the situation, Vargas penned an open letter to Obama calling on him to focus on getting something done when it comes to immigration reform instead of spouting rhetoric designed to help his party’s chances in 2014.
“Dreamers and the American people, however, especially Latino voters, have heard the same empty words and broken promises before from candidate Barack Obama and President Obama,” he wrote. Even during the shutdown, Vargas wrote, immigration agents have been working, “bringing [Obama’s] Administration closer to the 2 million deportations milestone.”
“We will not be fooled by your rhetoric again,” Vargas wrote. If Obama wants to talk about immigration reform, Vargas said in an interview, he needs to get serious about working across the aisle, even if that means upsetting leaders of his own party. He called on the president to “make phone calls to the Speaker and Republican leadership on immigration” and “not follow” what Vargas sees as a Democratic House “strategy to just make immigration a partisan issue to win more seats the next election.”