Austin, TX – As the race in Texas for the U.S. Senate continues to tighten in the final weeks of the campaign, today, the immigrant youth who lead United We Dream Action (UWDA) announced their endorsement of Rep. Beto O’Rourke to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, arguably the most vicious anti-immigrant politician in Congress.
“Texas is changing, and the work immigrant youth and our communities are leading in the state is the new direction Beto O’Rourke speaks about in his campaign,” said Giovanni Torres, a DACA recipient, a member of UWDA’s endorsement committee and Mavericks United at University of Texas at Arlington. “I’ve lived in Texas nearly all my life, and we’ve never had an elected official who clearly understands who we are and what our community needs. It’s exciting to finally have a chance to help elect a real leader like Beto to the U.S. Senate who will work with us and stand against Trump’s attacks.”
United We Dream Action, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country, is endorsing candidates for the first time during this critical election year. UWDA is taking our fight directly to voters to urge them to elect new champions for our movement and punish those who stand in our way to win respect and dignity for all immigrants and communities of color. Aside from Texas, immigrant youth are contacting more than 500,000 voters in key targeted races in Florida, New Mexico, and California.
“Growing up in Texas, I never understood why people here would vote for someone like Ted Cruz who uses racism, fear-mongering and scapegoat tactics to attack immigrants, women, and people of color,” said Julieta Garibay, co-founder and Texas State Director of United We Dream Action based in Austin. “I became a U.S. Citizen this April and this year will be my first time to cast a vote in the midterms, and I am ready to vote out haters like Ted Cruz and elect real champions like Beto O’Rourke. As Senator, UWDA will be sure and ready to hold Beto O’Rourke accountable to our community. Texas cannot afford another six years of Ted Cruz as Senator.”
Rep. O’Rourke responded to a UWDA candidate questionnaire and has met with immigrant youth across Texas. He believes that Texans deserve an accountable, full-time Senator who will work tirelessly to ensure that all 28 million Texans have an opportunity to live to their full potential.
“Everyday, immigrants and familias like mine along the border are criminalized and terrorized by hate and militarism. We need leadership that will push for legislation that will protects us and our loved ones,” said Roberto Valadez, a DACA recipient and leader with Soñando Juntos in El Paso, TX. “As our Congressman in El Paso, we’ve seen Beto fight for the rights of immigrants and of all people. We need a Senator that will defend communities of color, foster democracy, and show up for us, not special interests—someone like Beto!”
Home to one of the largest Latino and immigrant populations in the country, there are 127,300 DACA recipients and at least 219,500 DACA-eligible young people who live in Texas. As well, in Texas, there are at least 436,000 U.S. citizens living with a person who has or is eligible for DACA, 99,000 of whom are of age and eligible to vote. This year, more than 400,000 new voters have registered to vote in Texas, more than one in four of whom are Latino.
“There is no love lost between immigrants and Ted Cruz,” said Cristina Jiménez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of UWDA. “It is shameful how he has used his senate office and campaign platform to attack immigrants. UWDA is mobilizing volunteers and voters like never before to turnout for candidates on November 6 who stand up with us to fight back these attacks. Beto is a fighter just like us. He is committed to defending immigrants and people of color in the U.S. Senate, just as we continue our fight to win respect and defend the dignity of our communities.”