Last week, the right-wing Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful. While the political ruling does not immediately change the protections to current DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, it marks another step forward for the Republican-led effort to dismantle DACA, a program more than ten years old, and deport Dreamers. 

For mixed-status families like mine, the latest ruling is yet another anxiety-inducing example for why we need a permanent solution that legalizes DACA-recipients from Congress. With voting starting in a few weeks for the elections that will determine who will control Congress, it is critical to know where the candidates stand on this crucial issue.

For years, Texas’ Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has led the legal charge to end DACA. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has promised to block any legislative fix for Dreamers if Republicans take the majority in the House in November.  The Republican congressional candidates in battleground districts along the border  Rep. Mayra Flores (TX-34), Cassy Garcia (TX-28), and Monica De La Cruz (TX-15) are on the ticket with Paxton and receive funding from McCarthy. Now, even as these three have campaigned on their identity as Latinas and as immigrants or children of migrants, and have paid lip service to support for Dreamers, their silence has been deafeaning as their party moved one step closer to deporting Dreamers.

I’m a naturalized citizen and my wife has had DACA for almost ten years. I want to raise my 20-month-old daughter in a country where what you do for your family and how you treat others is what defines you. That is not the country she will live in if Trump Republicans succeed at stripping her mother of DACA.

“Show me your friends and I will show you who you are” is a refrain meant to convey that those “friends” one embraces can be a powerful indication of one’s values, beliefs, and priorities. Ending DACA and deporting Dreamers is not the only extremist position the friends of Texas border GOP congressional candidates Flores, Garcia and De La Cruz have taken. In our campaign Dime Con Quién Andas/Show Me Your Friends, America’s Voice exposes the ties between Republican candidates and extremists and white nationalists. The company Flores, Garcia and De La Cruz have kept is alarming.

Trump Republicans are pushing the absurd notion that refugees on our southern border seeking safety in America is somehow an “invasion.” That kind of rhetoric already had a death count. The gunmen who carried out massacres in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2018, in my hometown of El Paso, Texas, in 2019, and in Buffalo, New York, in 2022, were all inspired by “invasion” lies.

These once-fringe and deadly conspiracy theories are now a central organizing principle of the GOP’s midterm strategy. They are being mainstreamed by Trump Republicans at the highest levels of the party and echoed by an alarming range of Republican elected officials and candidates. Rep. Mayra Flores peddled the dangerous language when in April she said, “The people here in South Texas are for immigration, but not for an invasion.”

The three Republican congressional candidates in South Texas aren’t just sharing a ballot with these extremists and white nationalists. As we have uncovered, all three candidates have accepted campaign donations and endorsements from some of the worst purveyors of fringe and white nationalist conspiracy theories and rhetoric.

Trump Republicans backing and funding Flores, Garcia and De La Cruz aim to pass laws that take away our freedom to decide if and when we grow our families, our freedom to vote, our children’s freedom to learn, and everyone’s freedom from gun violence. DACA is only the latest attack.

DACA recipients and their families cannot go on living court ruling to court ruling. This November, we will vote to protect our freedoms. Unless Republican candidates actively and publicly stand up to their friends, they too are responsible for Trump Republicans’ dangerous and racist rhetoric.

It is time Texas border GOP congressional candidates Monica De La Cruz, Mayra Flores and Cassy Garcia come clean and tell Texas voters which side they are on.

As it stands now their silence is a clear declaration of where they stand. By keeping company with extremists and white nationalists, the Republican candidates running to represent districts along the Texas-Mexico border are enabling the extremism of Trump Republicans at the center of their party. A vote for any of them is a vote to deport DACA recipients and take away our freedoms.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Mario Carrillo, campaigns manager for America’s Voice. The mission of America’s Voice is to build the public support and the political will needed to enact policy changes that secure freedom and opportunity for immigrants in America. The group’s priority goal is to win reforms that put 11 million undocumented Americans on a path to full citizenship. Carrillo can be reached by email via: [email protected]

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