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  • A demonstrator holding a sign outside the US Supreme Court reading, 'I am American'.

    A demonstrator holding a sign outside the US Supreme Court reading, 'I am American'. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 January 2020

Sanders has said the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border is a “serious problem” but criticized the Trump administration’s detention policies.

United States Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is the Dreamers’ top pick to beat President Donald Trump in the upcoming November election, in order to put an end to the hostility in the U.S. against migrants.

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Although they no longer live in the U.S., Dreamers who have returned to Mexico are closely following the presidential race, given that a second term for the Republican president would further complicate the lives of their relatives living in the U.S. and their chances of one day returning to that country.

The term Dreamers refers to migrants that were brought without documentation to the U.S. by their parents when they were children. They were affected by Trump's decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which put their deportations on hold and provided them with temporary work permits. However, the decision is still awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s approval.

“Trump uses immigrants as bait to get re-elected,” said Israel Concha, 38 years old, now living in Mexico City.

Israel lived for 34 years in Texas, where he started a transportation company, but his life made a 180-degree turn when he was arrested for speeding. Because he had no papers, U.S. authorities initiated deportation proceedings against him and he spent two years at a migration-center.

His son was born during that time, and he wasn’t given the chance to say goodbye to the boy when he was deported. He was kidnapped on his first day back in Mexico.

“We are dealing with a president that uses migrant families as bait and as chess pieces to get re-elected,” said Israel, who now heads an organization that supports Mexicans who have returned - or were deported - from the U.S.

He said he feels that there is a “good chance” that Trump will be re-elected on Nov. 3 given the good state of the U.S. economy, and he hopes that the Democrats choose a strong opponent to compete against him.

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Chantal Lopez, 29, seemed to agree saying that “if Latinos don’t vote, Trump will get re-elected.” Lopez arrived back in Acapulco, Mexico just four months ago. Her family moved to California when she was 10 because there were no job opportunities in Acapulco due to local crime and violence.

Although she is not fluent in Spanish, she says she feels more comfortable in her new home than in the U.S., "because I am not worried about being found and deported.”

Chantal also came back to Mexico to be able to work in her chosen field of ethnic studies and not to have to keep working at a restaurant for the rest of her life. She favors Sanders because he “is very interested in helping people with scarce resources” and she said she fears that her sister could be negatively impacted by Trump’s re-election given that her DACA permit expires soon.

“If Latinos don’t vote, it’s gonna be very hard to beat Trump,” she added.

Since entering the White House in 2017, Trump has moved to end former President Barack Obama’s DACA program, which protects from deportation undocumented migrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has said he would work with Congress to pass a comprehensive migration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship and favors providing immediate legal status for those eligible for DACA.

The progressive candidate also voted against the creation of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and would seek to restructure it.

However, he has said he opposes open borders, which he believes would strain government resources and make it more difficult to enact other policies he champions such as universal healthcare and free college tuition.

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