DREAM Activists Ramp Up While Comprehensive Immigration Reform Dies

May 25th, 2010 · 16 Comments

I have been of the opinion that we wouldn’t see comprehensive immigration reform if there wasn’t any progress being made in the legislature by Memorial Day weekend. We are headed into the midterm campaign season, and soon the summer recess will begin. After the health care battle, few are showing the political will to jump on the immigration reform train, and I get the impression that the White House would rather not push it. A few weeks ago, President Obama said that he would like to begin working on comprehensive immigration reform without committing to any time lines. And of course, within the media and some immigration reform advocacy circles, finger pointing is being aimed at Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, who has long warned that immigration was the “third rail of American politics.”

Given the reality that we probably aren’t going to have comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM activists have ramped up their efforts. I have blogged about the DREAM Act and the student advocates who are working tirelessly to have this opportunity to regularize their status. These youth did not have any say in how they arrived within our borders, as they were brought here as young children, attended schools and have become socialized as Americans. The DREAM activists can see the writing on the wall with comprehensive immigration reform, as they have been down this path before with the last effort big immigration reform push in 2007 that died. So instead of proceeding down the same path to nowhere, now we are beginning to see bold action by immigrant youth, including a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office, a protest on Wilshire Boulevard by UCLA students, and protests in San Francisco outside of Senator Feinstein’s office.

I also sense that the urgency is being amplified because of the recent deaths of two DREAM activists, Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, who were killed in an auto crash. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement, “By all accounts, Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix Perez were outstanding students and beloved leaders who touched many lives with their courage, passion and intellect. As undocumented immigrant students, they surmounted exceptional hurdles to earn their UCLA degrees, and together with others in a tight-knit community dedicated themselves to helping others in similar circumstances. In many ways, they embody the values that UCLA stands for. The campus community joins with their families and friends in mourning their deaths.” These young women have inspired their peers to go all out in their advocacy and to take their passions to the next level because of the reality that they may not live to realize those dreams of becoming legalized.

It’s time for Senators and Congressional representatives who keep delaying on taking any action with the DREAM Act to stand firm. Get behind it, co-sponsor it, or get out of the way because telling the public that you are waiting for comprehensive immigration reform is not sufficient anymore. Waiting for comprehensive immigration reform is disingenuous in the current environment, and the reality is that the undocumented youth have so much to offer.

On the Senate side, Senators Durbin and Lugar are both firmly committed to the DREAM Act. DREAM Activists are targeting senators who could be co-sponsors including Stabenow of Michigan and Brown of Massachusetts. And in the Congress, DREAM activists are putting pressure on Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, in addition to other members, to buck up and co-sponsor. Gustavo Arellano has a pretty good post describing what happened at a recent event where Sanchez had to breathe the same air as the undocumented youth who have continually asked her to co-sponsor and spearhead the effort on the house side.

I will be updating the blog with more DREAM activist actions as they unfold. The appearance of three DREAM Activists on Democracy Now! is also worth watching:

UPDATE 5/26/10: Rep. Loretta Sanchez has signed on as a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act.

Tags: Barack Obama · community organizing and activism · Education · Immigration · John McCain · Rep. Loretta Sanchez

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // May 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    We should have voted for McCain. Voting for Obama was a huge mistake. By the time he’s gone in 2012, we won’t have any rights.

  • 2 irma // May 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Obama offers no comprehensive immigration reform but is now sending more troops to Arizona.
    Hispanics should have never supported him.
    He wants our vote, but gives us nothing.

  • 3 webmaster // May 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    “We should have voted for McCain. Voting for Obama was a huge mistake.”

    With the turn that McCain has taken toward the tea party, I don’t know how that could be any better than what we have. This issue goes beyond Obama though, who I readily admit could stop the raids and deportations of DREAMers.

    We need to put continual pressure on the congressional and senate reps. They are the ones who will legislate. And this means doing more than turning out to vote (that is the key thing), but we need to be making calls, writing letters, etc and encouraging others to do so as well. Right now, Obama and company is calculating that we aren’t going to do that and will default to him and the Dems in the upcoming elections.

  • 4 What The ... // May 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Here we go again, immigration reform would only mean amnesty, and what kind of message would this send to others doing the right thing, and going through the immigration process? Further, what kind of message would this give to other who want to immigrate to the US legally. It would say we are weak in are immigration laws and their enforcement. Considering children of illegal immigrants. Of course, it isn’t their fault, but it isn’t America’s fault either. I’m Hispanic, but that’s culture, I’m American first, and not responsible for the bad decisions parents of foreign nationals make. Technically, the children and parents are still foreign nationals. Parents of these children are to blame for placing their children in the predicament. My solution, go forward, immigration reform isn’t the answer. Get a sponsor(which I’m sure should not be a problem) and begin the naturalization process. We are a nation of laws. Demanding citizenship as if one was entitled to it just for living in this country will not fly. No other country in the world will go for this one, surprisingly not even Mexico, why should we? Remember, the National Guard is going to Arizona, not because of illegal Mexican Nationals who want to work, but for drug cartel violence, the kidnappings , the human labor and prostitution smuggling rings. Acouple of weeks ago, a law enforcement officer was accousted by by five Mexican assailant with AK 47’s. A couple of months ago a rancher was killed by an assailant within a major drug corridor. They even killed his dog! If you really care about how Latinos are treated, you should address Mexico, and take action. I’m saying this because I saw a disturbing sign one of the protesters against SB 1070 was carrying. I stated, “ Give us free health care, jobs, no taxes, food, homes. You owe us America. We will shoot more police in Arizona till we get free”. Get some cajones, and stop with the embarrassing victim mentality.

  • 5 Reyfeo // May 26, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Keep Dreaming Webbdy! Your talking about the same congress who passed the worse Health Care Legislation and has rampantly indebted the US twice over from the past 4 presidents combined…and NObama approved all of this! Immigration Reform? You mean “Amnesty” Reform at this website…bottom line is McCain was a better choice in this area…he would have stayed the course as a very liberal Republican (some would call him Moderate I guess) and most likely bought off on Amnesty since he wanted to be seen as the President who would bring both parties together (partly why a lot of Republicans stayed home and didn’t vote), something “W” couldn’t and now NObama has made worse!
    As for the Dream Act…look, if these people were Americans, great, but they are not…how can you possibly advocate money to people who are not here legally and still look at those out in the street who have lost their jobs because of this NObama economy and say that’s ok…and beofree you start throwing spears, I too feel for these students “whose” parent brought them here illegally and now find themselves in this predicament. But we’re broke, about to be taxed even further by this administration/congress (can you say VAT) and you still want to give money away? Something is wrong with this…why not advocate your own state pay for each Dream Act? Probably because they are broke too, but you still advocate the Federal Gov’t “has” to do something! News Flash, they the Feds are broke too.
    Anna is right, Latinos through their votes right out the window with this guy…BTW he’s finally having an open press interview, but I’m sure they’ll stage the questions with the NY Times leading the pack to throw soft balls at him. He’s not even headed to Arlington for Memorial Day, talk about an insult to every Veteran!! NObama is too busy authorizing things like the Sestak Bribe…Obama out in 2012!!

  • 6 irma // May 26, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I think we should stay at home for the next set of elections. That will send a message to the Democrats. At a matter of course, I call my congressmen several times a year. Most recently,
    I complained about the Arizona bill. I have no idea whether I was heard.

  • 7 webmaster // May 26, 2010 at 9:58 am

    “I think we should stay at home for the next set of elections. That will send a message to the Democrats.”

    I am not sure if this is the best way to demonstrate political power — staying home and not showing up to the game at all. Who says that we have to vote Democrat? Last time I checked my ballot, I did see other parties and declined to state candidates.

    Continuing to call your congressman will have a bigger impact if he knows that you actually vote than if you readily admit that you won’t show up for the next set of elections.

  • 8 irma // May 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I do not agree. If Obama and the Democrats are doing what the Republicans want concerning the southern border of the US- then the only way to make the Democrats listen to us is to temporarily reduce their power.

    To give you an example of how this kind of strategy would work, many years ago one of my aunts asked my uncle to buy her a washing machine. She had 8 children and lots of laundry. It was no fun, doing all that laundry by hand. He ignored her requests despite whatever enticements she offered . So, one day he came home to find a note that said ” I have go to the fields to earn money for a washing machine. I will return when I have enough.
    Take care of our children until I return. ”
    One month later, she returned with the money,
    and promptly bought a washing machine.
    After that, my uncle never ignored a reasonable request from his wife.

    I will stay at home on election – if the Democrats continue to ignore our call for comprehensive immigration reform. This may be the only way they will listen.

  • 9 Jesus (Hay-soos) // May 26, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Not voting in elections is not the best way to protest the current wave of missteps the Democrats & GOP are guilty of.
    I suggest you pick the best third party candidate & vote for them. Though I’ve been a registered Dem since I was able to vote, I’ve voted third party candidates almost half the time.
    It is not that I really believed that third party candidate was viable, rather it has been my way of protesting the weak candidates I have been offered by the Democratic Party Machine.
    Of course I’ve never nor will ever vote GOP, I believe my votes for third party candidates will eventually begin to have an effect on those power brokers from both sides.

  • 10 Anna // May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Re: “we need to be making calls, writing letters, etc and encouraging others to do so as well.”

    LOLOL That won’t work.

    The only thing that will work is boycotting and pulling our money out of the banks.

  • 11 Pablo // May 27, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I’m all for the DREAM Act, having finally looked into it; just as I’m still fairly certain CIR ain’t dead yet. The deals there. Everyone is getting at least most of what they’d bargained for.

    My thought: keep your eye on Charles Schumer’s office for updates of the CIR bill draft proposal. Hope and DREAM it comes along swiftly.

  • 12 irma // May 27, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Stay at home or vote for a 3rd party candidate who can’t possibly win.
    Maybe you are right- that lets both major parties know that there is a group of voters that need to be heard. If those voters number in the hundreds of thousands- I think the message will sent loud and clear.
    Thanks for the idea.

  • 13 webmaster // May 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    “I’m all for the DREAM Act, having finally looked into it; just as I’m still fairly certain CIR ain’t dead yet.”

    It is most likely dead for this congressional term. The congress will go on its summer recess soon, and then there will be November elections. I don’t think that there is enough movement now w/ immigration to get the whole CIR moving… I think what you are seeing is movement and busy work on immigration. Why do you think that nobody has committed to a time table?

    Re: Anna, “LOLOL That won’t work.
    The only thing that will work is boycotting and pulling our money out of the banks.”

    Anna, there are political actions at all levels. Sometimes politicians do respond to constituent calls, especially when a vote is pending on an amendment.

    How is pulling money out of the banks going to affect something like the three border enforcement amendments that were voted on today? See this link:

    I know of plenty people who probably made calls yesterday and today to have those amendments defeated.

  • 14 Tony // May 28, 2010 at 12:30 am

    So now, it seems, Arizona’s after the Indians!

  • 15 irma // May 29, 2010 at 9:21 am

    What does LOLOL mean?


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