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United We Dream Action Presidential Primary Endorsement Process

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United We Dream Action is the leading national network fighting for dignity and justice led by immigrant youth and allies. We are a dynamic community of thousands of immigrant youth nationwide who build independent political power for those directly impacted by injustice. We organize and take action to win victories so that all people can be safe and thrive.

Our community feels the pain of having loved ones abducted by deportation agents like Walter from Florida, who was taken by ICE from his wife and two children and whose family was ripped apart. Our community feels the pain of queer and transgender immigrants dying in detention after being neglected and mistreated. Our community feels the pain of DACA recipients and immigrant youth like Edder, from South Carolina, who was targeted and deported.

Our lives are at stake and for the 2020 election we are doing everything we can to fight the violent attacks by white nationalists and to build the conditions for major victories tomorrow.

In June of 2019, UWDA and leading national progressive organizations launched the Free to Move, Free to Stay platform to shift the immigration debate in a new and winning direction. The platform focuses on solutions that put the humanity of immigrants first and frees immigrant communities from mass deportation, incarceration, and criminalization.

For the first time, United We Dream Action is considering whether or not to endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary election. We will fight to stop Trump. And it is our responsibility to envision the future we deserve and develop the strategy to get there. An endorsement is part of the strategy that allows us to tell millions of people in our communities which candidate(s) would best deliver the solutions we need.

Nevertheless, this is not the first time United We Dream Action engages with the presidential elections. Our experience with the Clinton Administration — which created many of the policies being used to attack our communities today and the Obama Administration — which deported more immigrants than any prior administration — has taught us to not rely solely on the promises that candidates make on the campaign trail.

United We Dream Action is considering all of the facts and our own wisdom as directly impacted people when making a decision on an endorsement. For United We Dream Action, an endorsement is not a decision to become a fanclub of any candidate. It is a decision to help our communities interpret the choices before them and to advance our platform for justice.

We know from over a decade of experience that achieving the solutions we deserve requires a strong independent political movement ready to hold our next president accountable to deliver. That is why we are shaping the debate now and in 2021 will lead the charge to stop deportations and to help our communities be Free to Move and Free to Stay.

We are excited to share our vision, process and priorities with you below!

Defeating White Nationalism & Donald Trump is Our Top Priority

This election year, the top political goal of United We Dream Action is to defeat the white nationalists who have taken control of our government and our leaders will work tirelessly to make that happen. No matter who becomes the Democratic nominee to be the next president, we will mobilize with everything we’ve got to defeat Donald Trump because our lives, communities and the future of this country are on the line.

The Voices of Directly Impacted People Will Be Heard

The 2020 Presidential primary process is the time for those committed to defeating white nationalism and Donald Trump have a national debate about the future we want to create together. This is the time to say what policies, which qualities and what vision WE want the next President to have. It is a key time to shape the agenda for next year and beyond.

United We Dream Action is making sure that the voices of people directly impacted by Trump and his deportation agents take center stage. We are taking action in the streets and online and we have created an immigration platform for the future. United We Dream Action is also considering whether or not to endorse a Presidential candidate in the Democratic primary.

Because of the hard work and voices of immigrant youth, the progressive movement is more united than ever on an agenda centered on protecting immigrants.

The Free To Move, Free To Stay Platform

The young people of United We Dream Action have joined forces with some of the most powerful progressive grassroots organizations in the nation to create the immigration platform for the future. UWDA and MoveOn.org, Indivisible, The Sunrise Movement, CPD Action, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the Working Families Party and Women’s March created the Free To Move, Free To Stay Platform which all candidates have been encouraged to endorse and use as a guide to shape their immigration policies.

We represent the progressive movement which will deliver victory or defeat to candidates in 2020 and we are calling for a radical shift away from Washington’s obsession with deportation agents, criminalizing our families and the one-sided policies of harming immigrants.

The platform includes real changes in six key areas:

  • Putting people first

United We Dream Action’s Endorsement Consideration

United We Dream Action is in the process of deciding whether or not to endorse a 2020 Presidential candidate. In the coming weeks, we will decide to take one of the following three next steps:

Option 1 — Endorse No Candidate

United We Dream Action may determine that there is not enough consensus to endorse a candidate and instead will focus entirely on defeating white nationalism and Donald Trump and advancing our Free to Move, Free to Stay platform.

Option 2 — Endorse More Than One Candidate Together

In this scenario, United We Dream Action will decide that there is more than one candidate who we believe would deliver on the Free to Move, Free to Stay platform than others in the race.

Option 3 — Endorse One Candidate

In this scenario, United We Dream Action will decide that there is one candidate who rises above the rest in their commitment and potential to deliver on the Free to Move, Free to Stay platform.

The Power of a United We Dream Action Endorsement

United We Dream Action has the power to communicate the truth about candidates to millions of people and we have the power to turn that truth into action.

United We Dream Action has a track record of fighting for justice and winning.

DACA recipients alone are connected to about 1.6 million voters, who are indirectly impacted by immigration policies and the upcoming SCOTUS DACA decision.

United We Dream Action also has a track record of fierce political independence and will hold all politicians accountable — even those that we have or will endorse — to delivering justice and equity for immigrants and communities of color.

Because of the hard work and dedication of immigrant youth who have poured their hearts and talents into building this community, United We Dream Action is a trusted voice in our neighborhoods, online and on the airwaves.

United We Dream Action’s Steps to Decide on Endorsement

Here are the steps we are taking:

Free To Move, Free To Stay Platform. Summer of 2019 — the platform to shape the future of immigration policy was launched by United We Dream Action and progressive partners. All major candidates for president were asked to endorse it.

Decision to consider an endorsement. Summer of 2019 — UWDA representing different local groups and regions decided to consider an endorsement process as part of our electoral strategies for 2020.

Nationwide Surveys. In the Summer of 2019 and early 2020, UWDA listened to the views on the candidates and the election.

Deep Analysis of Candidates. Fall 2019 and early 2020- UWDA conducted a deep analysis of the top four candidates running to defeat Donald Trump. We assessed past records, media clips, their commitment to the Free to Move, Free to Stay platform and more. The analysis is on-going as the candidates continue to speak out on their immigration plans.

Candidate Meetings. December 2019. The top candidates in the race were asked to meet in person with a delegation of United We Dream Action leaders who themselves or their families were impacted by deportation agents and who represented the wide diversity of immigrant youth from students, to parents to low wage workers and more. The meetings were designed to enable immigrant youth to share their stories with the potential presidents and to engage in a conversation about the Free to Move, Free to Stay platform. UWDA reached out to the top 5 front runners in late 2019:

  • Secretary Castro: Met with UWDA

Candidate Questionnaire & Platform Endorsement. January 2020. Candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire to follow up on additional questions after initial candidate meetings and the request to endorse our Free to Move, Free to Stay platform. We received responses from Senators Sanders and Warren; Vice President Biden and Mayor Buttigieg did not complete UWDA’s questionnaire; and Secretary Castro ended his candidacy.

Final Considerations and Decision. United We Dream Action will assess the candidates’ policy positions, responses to questionnaires, in person meeting conversations, public statements, and voting record to make a final decision on whether to endorse a candidate and who it may be in the first quarter of 2020.

Driving the Debate and Holding Politicians Accountable

Candidates know that United We Dream Action will share the truth about the candidates with our leaders and mobilize millions. We are committed to justice for all people and will hold any and every politician accountable to helping our communities.

Regardless of our decision during the primary, we are committed to backing the Democratic nominee and mobilizing thousands of voters to the polls in order to defeat Trump in November.

UWDA is building an independent political movement to win justice for all people and will hold any and every politician accountable to stopping deportations and ensuring immigrants and people of color can live safely and thrive.

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With our members, we will fight for policies that help people without hurting people and ensure that we have champions in all levels of government.

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