TIME 2016 Election

The 9 Times Hillary Clinton Has Taken a Stand Since 2013

USA - Hillary Clinton speaks at Iowa Senator Tom Harken'a annual Steak Fry
Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton gazes pensively into the distance at Iowa Senator Tom Harken'a annual Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa on September 14, 2014. Brooks Kraft—Corbis for TIME

Like other presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton had an opinion on just about everything in 2008. How to reform the U.S. health care system? Check. What to do about climate change? Check. Even minor issues like how to lower the price of gas required her to come up with a plan.

But when she became Secretary of State, Clinton followed tradition and kept her opinions to herself, especially on domestic policy. And since leaving Foggy Bottom in 2013, she’s mostly avoided specifics.

She says she’s in favor of protecting the environment, for example, but has yet to stake out her position on fracking or the Keystone XL pipeline. She says she’s against eliminating net neutrality, but has yet to say what, exactly, the government ought to do to protect it. And while she’s talked a big game about U.S. military engagement abroad, it’s unclear how her positions on, say, Ukraine or Iraq would differ from those of President Obama.

That ambiguity is understandable. She doesn’t hold public office. She’s not officially on the ballot. And committing to a position publicly limits her future options, politically. But given how many times she hasn’t taken a position on the issue of the day, it’s worth noting the handful of times she has.

Here’s a look at the nine most substantive policy positions Clinton has staked out since stepping down as Secretary of State.

1) The U.S. needs serious immigration reform. When President Obama announced his controversial executive order in November shielding up to five million undocumented immigrants, Clinton tweeted her approval within minutes, and then followed up with a statement calling for immediate, bipartisan and comprehensive immigration that would “focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families.”

2) The U.S. should have armed the rebels in Syria. In an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in August, Clinton blamed the rise of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, on the U.S. not doing enough to support moderate rebels when the Syrian civil war first broke out. “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” she said. That said, Clinton’s ideas on how to rout ISIS now appear to be more or less the same as Obama’s.

3) Gay people should be allowed to marry. In March 2013, Clinton formally announced in her support for gay marriage, marking a major reversal of the position she’d held for decades. Her rivals criticized her for jumping on the bandwagon only after the issue of gay marriage had become widely acceptable, but she defended herself as a “thinking human” who is allowed to “evolve” on issues.

4) Americans shouldn’t torture people. At a human rights awards dinner in December, Clinton made her first public comments about torture since the Senate released its controversial report on the issue earlier this month. She said unequivocally that she is against illegal renditions and brutal interrogation methods. “The U.S. should never condone or practice torture anywhere in the world,” she said.

5) The federal government should raise the minimum wage. In a speech at a campaign event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in October, Clinton told the crowd not to “let anyone tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs – they always say that.” She then went on to defend raising the federal minimum wage. As a senator, Clinton repeatedly proposed legislation that would automatically increase the federal minimum wage anytime members of Congress saw their own pay increase.

6) Negotiating with Iran is a good idea, so long as the U.S. gets a good deal. Much to the chagrin of many in the pro-Israel crowd, Clinton has not only expressed support for the administration’s negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program, she has taken credit for initiating the secret talks back in 2012. In the past year, she has lightly tempered that unequivocal support by cautioning that the U.S. should be careful about what it concedes to, repeating that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

7) The U.S. shouldn’t trust Putin. At a speaking event this year, Clinton called the Russian President an arrogant bully. As Secretary of State, she said she was in favor of the Obama administration’s “reset” policy with Russia, but her opinion of the policy appears to have cooled. “I think that what may have happened, is that both the United States and Europe were really hoping for the best from Putin as a returned president,” she told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview in July. “And I think we’ve been quickly, unfortunately, disabused of those hopes.” While those seem like fightin’ words, policy analysts point out that it’s less clear how Clinton’s distrust of Putin would translate to a change in actual U.S. policy—much less potential military engagement—in Ukraine.

8) All American kids should get free, high-quality pre-K. Anyone remotely familiar with Clinton’s resume won’t find this to be much of a shocker, but early-childhood education is one of the issues she’s been most outspoken about in the last two years. She’s advocated for everything from universal pre-K and free nurse home-visits for at-risk mothers, to expanding existing programs, like Head Start and paid family leave.

9) #Blacklivesmatter. Clinton took a shellacking this fall for failing to say much one way or an another on the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and about the Eric Garner case in New York. At an awards ceremony in December, she broke her silence—kinda. “Yes, black lives matter,” she said, but then failed to elaborate. She has yet to say whether she’s in favor of broad sentencing reform, body cameras on police, or how she might limit what military equipment is available to police forces.

TIME viral

Watch Brian Williams Slow Jam the Immigration News on the Tonight Show

“Take it from my man Breezy-Weezy”

It’s been two weeks since President Obama signed an executive order on immigration reform, but it’s far from old news. So Jimmy Fallon invited Brian Williams, on his 10-year anniversary of hosting NBC’s “Nightly News,” to break down the story, slow jam style.

Fallon squeezes in an impressive number of double entendres, aided by the entry and exit analogies immigration offers. He also manages a handful of spirited nicknames for his colleague, the best (and most NBC-promoting) being Peter Pan, Sr. The duo takes a Nicki Minaj break, then erupts into a spat when Fallon congratulates Williams on a decade of hosting “the 16th hour of the Today Show.”

They make up and hug it out, though, offering an example of reconciliation to the politicians whose inaction they’ve just slow jammed.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: From Obama’s Immigration Move to a Legendary Director’s Passing

Watch today's Know Right Now to catch up on the latest trending stories

In today’s trending stories, President Obama took executive action on Thursday to impose sweeping immigration reforms. His GOP critics say the plan is equivalent to amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

All 50 states saw below freezing temperatures this week, while Buffalo, New York, was buried beneath 85 inches of “Lake Effect” snow.

The world’s biggest chocolate makers said the planet is facing a shortage of the product, due to dry weather in West Africa, fungal disease, and China’s growing appetite for it.

And lastly, film director Mike Nichols died this week at 83 years old. He is one of a handful of people who has won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.

TIME Immigration

Hillary Clinton Backs President Obama’s Immigration Announcement

Hillary Clinton departs St. Ignatius Loyola church following fashion designer de la Renta's memorial service in the Manhattan borough of New York
Former first lady Hillary Clinton departs St. Ignatius Loyola church following fashion designer Oscar de la Renta's memorial service in the Manhattan borough of New York November 3, 2014. © Carlo Allegri / Reuters—REUTERS

"I support the President’s decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system"

As Republicans fume at President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions Thursday, his Democratic potential successor is applauding the decision.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her support for Obama’s announcement in a tweet and a statement Thursday evening. Her statement leaves no distance between herself and the president on an issue that remains politically polarizing.

Clinton, like Obama, was the subject of protests from immigration activists in the run-up to November’s midterm elections.

Her full statement:

I support the President’s decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families. I was hopeful that the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in 2013 would spur the House of Representatives to act, but they refused even to advance an alternative. Their abdication of responsibility paved the way for this executive action, which follows established precedent from Presidents of both parties going back many decades. But, only Congress can finish the job by passing permanent bipartisan reform that keeps families together, treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation’s prosperity. Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we’re not discussing abstract statistics – we’re talking about real families with real experiences. We’re talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children.

President Barack Obama announced Thursday night that he was giving temporary legal status and work permits to almost five million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

TIME faith

Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Will Tear Us Apart

US-POLITICS-IMMIGRATION-OBAMA
President Barack Obama meets with business leaders on immigration reform on June 24, 2013 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN—AFP/Getty Images

Russell Moore is President of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

Acting unilaterally threatens an emerging consensus

I disagree with President Barack Obama’s decision to act unilaterally on immigration policy. I am for immigration reform, for all sorts of reasons that I have outlined elsewhere. The system we have is incoherent and unjust. I have worked hard to try to see the system changed, and will continue to do so. It’s because of my support for immigrants and for immigration reform that I think President Obama’s executive actions are the wrong way to go.

On more than one occasion, I asked President Obama not to turn immigration reform into a red state/blue state issue. People across the political spectrum support fixing this system, and it shouldn’t be a partisan wedge issue. I also asked him not to act unilaterally, but to work for consensus through the legislative process. To his credit, he did just that for a long while, and the Republican Congress took no action. He also told me, and others, that his patience was not endless on this.

Now the President says that he is out of patience and that he will use executive authority to achieve some of the goals of immigration reform. We can debate whether the President has the authority to undertake these actions unilaterally, but, regardless, this is an unwise and counterproductive move.

Yes, the Republican House has done nothing—up to this point. I am as frustrated with that as anyone. But as we all know, there is a new reality in Washington, with Republicans now the majority in both houses of Congress. The Republicans have said that they want to demonstrate that they can govern, and that they want to find areas where they can work together with the White House. Why not give them the opportunity to do so?

Over the past several years, a remarkable consensus has emerged on immigration reform, uniting the left, right and center. I am often in meetings in which those of us at the table can agree on almost literally nothing else. The business community, agriculture, law enforcement, religious constituencies and immigrant advocacy groups have come to this question with unique but overlapping points of concern. There are few Americans who think the system works as it is, and there is little support for deporting 11 million people from this country. This consensus is one to cultivate, not to tear apart.

Acting unilaterally threatens that consensus, and is the wrong thing to do. Even those who support broad executive action (including many friends of mine) acknowledge that the actions won’t solve the problem, only a legislative solution will. My hope is that the Republicans in Congress will not allow the President’s actions here to be a pretext for remaning in the rut of the status quo. Too many people are harmed by this broken system, many of them our brothers and sisters in Christ. The lives of immigrant families, made in the image of God, are too important for political gamesmanship.

More importantly, I pray that our churches will transcend all of this posing and maneuvering that we see in Washington. Whatever our agreements and disagreements on immigration policy, we as the Body of Christ are those who see every human life as reflecting the image of God. Immigrant communities are a great blessing not only to this country, but to our churches. Many of the most anointed churches in evangelism and ministry are led by immigrants to this country.

Whatever our political disagreements, we ought to continue to stand with them, and to see to it that the immigrants among us are welcomed and loved. Whatever happens in the White House, our churches must press on with ministry and mission.

Russell Moore is President of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral concerns and public policy entity of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Prior to his election in 2013, Moore served as provost and dean of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also taught theology and ethics. Moore is the author of several books, includingAdopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches and Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ. A native Mississippian, he and his wife Maria are the parents of five sons.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Immigration

Nearly Half of Americans Oppose Obama’s Impending Immigration Move

President Barack Obama speaks at the 'ConnectED to the Future', in the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C. on Nov. 19, 2014.
President Barack Obama speaks at the 'ConnectED to the Future', in the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C. on Nov. 19, 2014. Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP

According to a new poll ahead of his primetime speech Thursday

Nearly half of Americans oppose President Obama taking his planned execution action on immigration, a move that could keep as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants in the country, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Forty-eight percent of Americans oppose the move, according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted Nov. 14-17, while 38% are in favor and 14% aren’t sure. Fifty-seven percent of Americans would prefer a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented, which could have been a possibility under a comprehensive reform law that passed in the Senate in 2013, but the House refused to take up the bill.

MORE: Obama Expected to Shield 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation in Executive Action

Among other measures, Obama’s proposal is said to allow parents of children who are legal citizens to stay, in addition to immigrants with high-tech skills. The long-promised reform is set to be announced Thursday at 8 p.m. ET in Las Vegas via a primetime address, the White House said Wednesday.

[NBC News]

TIME celebrities

Orange Is the New Black Star: My Parents Were Deported When I Was 14

The Television Academy And SAG-AFTRA Present Dynamic And Diverse: A 66th Emmy Awards Celebration Of Diversity
Actress Diane Guerrero attends the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA's presentation of Dynamic and Diverse: A 66th Emmy Awards celebration of Diversity on August 12, 2014 in North Hollywood, California. (Paul Archuleta--FilmMagic) Paul Archuleta—FilmMagic

Diane Guerrero plays Ramos on the hit Netflix series

On Orange is the New Black, Diane Guerrero plays inmate Maritza Ramos, whom she describes as a “tough Latina from the ‘hood,'” but her real-life story isn’t so rosy either. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times published Friday, Guerrero writes about her parents and older brother getting deported when she was only 14.

Guerrero, who also has a supporting role on Jane the Virgin, is a U.S. citizen, but her parents and brother are from Colombia. She writes that they struggled to get citizenship, but despite going through numerous ineffective lawyers and mountains of legal fees, they remained undocumented. Then, when Guerrero was 14, the worst happened:

One day, my fears were realized. I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn’t there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.

Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.

Guerrero ends her op-ed by calling on President Obama to provide deportation relief to keep families together. The President is expected to announce a new immigration plan imminently that could give temporary papers (but not citizenship) to millions of immigrants.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times

 

TIME Immigration

What Republicans Could Do if the President Acts on Immigration

John Boehner Obama Immigration
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) holds a news conference with the newly-elected members of the House GOP leadership at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 13, 2014. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

Will Republicans opt to shut down the government if the President asserts his executive authority on immigration? They could, but no plans have been set yet

President Obama is poised to take unilateral executive action on immigration despite warnings from Republican leaders in Congress. The President’s plan, which would block deportation for as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, could come as soon as next week, the New York Times reports, and Washington and much of the country are bracing for the fallout.

But what exactly can the GOP do if the President acts?

Congressional leaders have said any action the president takes on his own will prompt a swift reaction. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who will serve as the Majority Leader in upcoming session, has likened it to “waving a red flag in front of a bull.” On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Republicans will “fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down that path.”

Practically, the GOP’s options are limited. As TIME’s Alex Rogers reported in October, a lawsuit is a costly route with a low-likelihood of success. Many Republicans nonetheless have come out in support of pursuing a legal battle. A suit authorized by House Republicans over the summer claims the President has overstepped the bounds of executive authority, and could be expanded to include his immigration moves if the president acts unilaterally. A decision on whether to include immigration in the suit will only be made “if and when” the President acts, according to a Congressional aide.

Another possibility: the GOP could force another government shutdown if Obama acts before Congress passes a federal spending bill. The deadline for Congress to fund government programs is Dec. 11, and while Sen. Mitch McConnell has flat out said there will be “no government shutdown,” he’s not the only one with a say in the matter. Conservative Republicans are increasingly calling for leveraging a spending bill as a threat against Obama’s immigration plans. Boehner on Thursday indicated though the goal isn’t to shut down the government, Congress intends to “stop the president from violating his oath of office and violating the Constitution.”

Even some Democrats have signaled they’d rather the President wait until the government is funded before acting on immigration. “I’d like to get the finances of this country out of the way before he does it. But it’s up to him,” current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told CNN.

The president appears increasingly inclined to act, perhaps in part because the GOP’s options for blocking him are costly an unappealing. At a press conference in Myanmar early Friday he said an executive order on immigration is “going to happen. And that’s going to happen before the end of the year.”

But Obama is not in a particularly strong political position either. Cornell Law Professor Stephen W. Yale-Loehr has said, “the president has boxed himself into a corner.” Says Yale-Loehr: “Republicans will argue that even the smallest executive immigration actions subvert Congress’ power.”

The real casualty in the maneuvering, says Noah Pickus, an immigration expert and associate research professor at Duke University, will be any chance for long-term immigration reform, which both parties say is necessary.

“The tough nut is to actually create a package in which both sides feel some real pain — and neither the President nor the Republicans have been willing to do that,” Pickus says. “The Republicans’ response to the President’s acting on his own will take us back through another endless Kabuki theater of policy-making rather than moving us into a new venue to see a new kind of play.”

-With reporting by Alex Rogers

TIME 2014 Election

McConnell: No Shutdowns, No Full Obamacare Repeal

An exclusive interview with TIME about his plans as Majority Leader

Sen. Mitch McConnell was giddy, not an emotion often seen in the sober 72-year-old Kentuckian. But that’s the only way to describe TIME’s interview with him in Perry County, Kentucky, on Monday afternoon.

Asked to imagine it was Wednesday morning and he wakes up majority leader—a position he’s aspired to, he says, since the 5th grade—McConnell strikes a conciliatory tone, saying he hopes to work with President Obama and Senate Democrats. He said there would be no shutdowns on his watch, despite the fact that he plans to use funding bills to force changes in Obama’s policies.

MORE: See all the election results

Notably, a full repeal of Obamacare was not on his mind, but rather a partial repeal through the appropriations process. Finally, he named his new top priority: keeping the Senate in 2016 (though winning the White House is also “not unimportant”).

Below are lightly edited excerpts from the interview.

mitch.no.asterisk.indd

Top priority?

I think we need to do everything we can to get America back to work. And exactly which bill comes up first will be determined after discussing that with my colleagues and with the Speaker. Some examples of things that we’re very likely to be voting on: approving the Keystone XL pipeline, repealing the medical device tax, trying to restore the 40-hour work week, trying to get rid of the individual mandate. These are the kinds of things that I believe there is a bipartisan majority in the Senate to approve.

Also, we’re going to want to see what kind of things we might be able to agree on with the President. After all, he’s going to be there for two more years. Maybe there are things that we can agree on. I’ll give you a couple of examples where there may be areas of agreement: comprehensive tax reform and trade agreements. Most of my members think that America’s a winner in international trade. The president hasn’t sent us a single trade bill in six years. I hope he’ll do that.

Would you undo the nuclear option?

Oh, we’ll discuss that when we get back.

You realize that now you’ll have to up your face time with the President, not a man you profess to enjoy spending time with?

Well, I’m the one who’s cut the deals that we’ve had. All of them. Biden and I did the December 2010 extension of the Bush tax cuts; the August 2011 budget control act, which actually led to a reduction in government spending for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War; and the Dec. 31 fiscal cliff deal 2012, which made 99% of the Bush tax cuts permanent and saved virtually every family farm and small business in my state from being sold by altering the Death Tax exemption. So I’m not fundamentally opposed to negotiating with the President and his team and, in fact, I’ve been the one who’s done that in the past. So, sure, he’s going to be there for two more years, so we’re going to sit down and talk to him and see what we might be able to agree on.

You didn’t mention immigration reform, will that be possible in the next two years?

We’re going to discuss that after the election.

What if the president does some sort of executive action on immigration?

Well, he’s done a lot of that sort of thing and the way that you push back on executive overreach is through the funding process. We’re going to pass a budget. We’re going to pass appropriations bills. Appropriations bills are going to have prescriptions of certain things that we think he ought not to be doing by either reducing the funding or restricting the funding.

But if you pass spending bills that he vetoes, doesn’t that lead to the possibility of a government shutdown?

Well, what happens when he vetoes an appropriations bill is you re-pass it.

Is there a possibility of a government shutdown?

No. There is no possibility of a government shutdown. Remember me? I’m the guy that gets us out of government shutdowns. (He laughs.)

MORE: The weirdest moments of Election Day 2014

You said to me once that you’d be most like George Mitchell as majority leader, do you still believe that?

Yeah, I do. The other hero of mine is Mike Mansfield. The Senate needs a lot of institutional repair. We need to get back to normal, and normal means that senators can offer amendments and actually get votes and the committees actually work. And we actually work occasionally or Fridays. There are a number of things that we need to do to become more productive. Some of it has to do with rebuilding relationships across the aisle and some of it has to do with just simply working harder.

What about building relationships within your own parties. Presidential hopefuls like [Texas Senator] Ted Cruz?

Look, we have a big party. Everybody from [Maine Senator] Susan Collins to Ted Cruz. There are lots of different points of view. Bringing them together, that’s my job and I work on it every week.

Isn’t restoring normal order risky, though, given that you have eight members up in blue states in 2016?

The first thing we need to do is be a constructive, right of center governing majority in the House and Senate.

MORE: Your guide to the 2016 GOP primary field

So, in 2016, what’s your top priority?

Well, it’ll be to keep the majority, of course.

What about winning the White House?

Well, that’s not unimportant. Obviously, winning the White House is the most important thing and I think we’re going to have a good shot at it.

Read next: The Challenge for the New Republican Majority

TIME politics

Latinos Are Stuck In an Abusive Relationship With Democrats

LA May Day Marches Celebrate Workers, Push For Immigration Reform
Marchers rally under the Chinatown Gateway before marching to the Metropolitan Detention Center during one a several May Day immigration-themed events on May 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Demonstrators are calling for immigration reform and an end to deportations of undocumented residents. David McNew—Getty Images

Arturo Carmona is Executive Director of Presente Action and Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latino organizing group.

If we don't take a stand and break up with the Party, we may never see Obama take action on immigration

It is clear that President Obama, and perhaps the Democrats more broadly–are starting to see Latinos as a political football to be tossed around when it suits their political needs.

For months, President Obama promised that he—and the rest of the nation—were done with Republican obstructionism on immigration reform. In June–President Obama told us—told the world—that by the end of the summer he would announce how he would use the power of his office to end the threat of deportation for more immigrant families.

In calling out Republican efforts to block reform, the President attempted to paint Democrats as Latinos’ only option for relief. He painted himself, and the Democrats, as our beacon of hope–all while four Senate Democrats plotted behind the scenes to undercut us for political gain.

Senators Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and Jeanne Shaheen joined the charge led by Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz to derail the only pathway that can provide relief for immigrant families–and President Obama caved to their political demands.

President Obama put the politics of their re-election before the lives of countless immigrant families currently under siege.

Frederick Douglass once said, “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted.”

The President, and the Democrats, have been testing Latinos–they have been slowly increasing the injustices committed against our communities to see what our breaking point is. And they have finally found the point of resistance.

If we do not resist–we may never see the President take action to stop deportations, despite the fact that he has the power to do so. We also may never see relief for our communities, for it is clear that relief is not coming from Democrats of their own volition.

The President’s sheepish move put politics over the safety and well-being of immigrant families and communities—all but guaranteeing that many more families will be torn apart, and that thousands more of our undocumented friends, relatives, colleagues, classmates and neighbors will face the horrors of midnight ICE raids and mass deportations.

The Democratic Party is telling us that they no longer have the well-being of Latinos and other immigrant communities at heart–but will we listen?

The national Democratic political apparatus acts to appease us when they fear political cost because they understand that as Latinos become a larger portion of the American electorate, we are crucial to their political power.

But so long as Latinos identify with the Democratic Party when they treat us as political pawns instead of a key constituency they should be wooing, we should not expect better treatment.

To borrow an old, sexist, trope: Why should they buy the cow when they get the milk for free?

Power concedes nothing without a demand. This historical moment demands a new approach: a strategy for changing the nation’s terroristic immigration policy that recognizes that the Democratic Party is not our friend simply because so many members of the Republican Party have shown themselves, in no uncertain terms, to be our enemy.

Latino political power must begin and end with the independence of the Latino vote. It’s time to drop Democratic Party affiliations, and ask the Democrats to work for our votes.

We can’t afford to continue buying into the false choice presented to us by the two dominant parties. That’s why Presente Action has chosen to encourage Latino voters and our allies to turn out in force for the November elections but not vote for the Dirty Four Senators who betrayed our community so publicly and so shamefully: Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and Jeanne Shaheen.

Confronted with broken promises, if Democrats want our votes, they should damn well have to work for them.

Arturo Carmona is Executive Director of Presente Action and Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latino organizing group.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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