The following is another guest blog post by Sorjuana. Recently, I have blogged about Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s failure to co-sponsor the DREAM Act, despite it being supported by both Republicans and Democrats and by the City Council of Santa Ana (symbolically). Well, now we are experiencing something similar with Rep. Joe Baca, who also will not sign on as a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Activist has a pretty good blog post up at Change.org about how Rep. Baca’s effort is not a substitute for the DREAM Act.
In my view, Baca and Sanchez’s actions reveal a pattern of incompetence that we have seen with some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Earlier this week, I read how the Congressional Black Caucus pushed back against the Blue Dog coalition of Democrats who are jeopardizing the public option with health care reform, but I did not hear of any similar action by the Hispanic Caucus. The DREAM Act is a piece of legislation that would help so many young Latinos, who would likely turn into voters and supporters of the politicians who support such an effort, but some of our electeds obviously don’t see the long term benefit. Without further commentary on my end, here are Sorjuana’s thoughts:
The problem with out of touch members of Congress is that they forget why they chose a life of public service.
Take for example, Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA) representing the 43rd Congressional District. As a Hispanic leader, Joe (can we call you Joe, Joe?), has chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and has received numerous awards.
A quick Wiki search of him reveals a different side of Joe, one that alleges misuse of campaign funds and a gambit of other not so flattering tidbits, including the time Joe called the very colorful Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) a “whore.”
That being said, Joe is at it again. Just a few weeks ago, Joe introduced the People Resolved to Obtain an Understanding of Democracy (PROUD) Act (H.R. 2681). According to his own press release, the bill “mandates that any high school graduate who can furnish transcripts proving completion of grades 6 through 12, displays an understanding of United States history, government and civics, and can prove they are of good moral character be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship.”
Sounds all fine and dandy with the exception of one thing, the PROUD Act does nothing, if not hurt the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a bill that was introduced to both the House and U.S Senate on March 26, 2009, and has the support of thousands of students and hundreds of organizations.
The Dream Act, in its many revisions, would allow a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students of any race, ethnicity or background, that have met the specific criteria as outlined in the bill and that will continue to their commitment to becoming full members of American society by either going to college or joining the nation’s military.
Most urgently, it allows for an age grace period, whereby students currently working to get the DREAM Act passed, can still benefit from it’s passing if they are between the ages of 12 – 35.
The PROUD Act, with its age and grade limitations up to high school, limits the inclusion of thousands of eager young people who have already graduated from American high schools and are currently attending college under the radar or are wishing to enroll in the military.
Instead of writing a new piece of legislation that is limited and age discriminatory, why doesn’t Congressman Joe Baca simply co-sponsor the current DREAM Act?
Why start from scratch? Is it because he is seeking name recognition for his upcoming re-election? Is it because he cares so deeply about undocumented students? Or is it because he wants to leave a legacy behind that is bigger in his head than in real life?
Joe – get it together. Co-sponsor the DREAM Act (and ask Loretta to join you while you are at it). Trust me when I say this song is not about you. You were elected by the people, it’s time you represented their needs.