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While OFA Blames the Republicans for DREAM Act loss…

December 20th, 2010 · 19 Comments

…the young leaders at DREAMActivist.org tell it like it is. This morning, Organizing for America, the grassroots offshoot of President Obama’s campaign (now housed within the DNC) sent out the following message with the subject heading, “This is not the end of DREAM”:

“This weekend’s vote on the DREAM Act was a disappointment. Republicans voted against a measure to give folks who are American in everything but their legal status an opportunity through military service or education.

I’ll be blunt: this vote failed because a group of Republicans stood with their party, instead of their principles.

Senator John McCain cosponsored the DREAM Act in 2003, 2005, and 2007. But this weekend, he voted against it.

Senator Chuck Grassley cosponsored the DREAM Act in 2003 — and voted against it this weekend.

Neither of them were alone — there are five Republican senators who have voted for the DREAM Act in the past decade, but failed to support it on Saturday.

We need to send a clear message to the Republicans that none of us are going away — that we will continue to fight. That’s why we’re asking people who support the DREAM Act to call the GOP leaders and express their disappointment — and to tell them to stop playing politics with immigration reform.

Call Representative Boehner at (202) 225-6205 and Senator McConnell at (202) 224-2541 today.

When President Obama was in the Senate, he was a cosponsor of the DREAM Act. It remains a major priority for him today.

And OFA supporters like you — along with advocates across the country — have done the important organizing work in our communities to build support for this crucial measure.

But the fight ahead of us will be difficult.

Prominent Republicans have come out against birthright citizenship, fought for English-only laws, and generally moved their party toward greater levels of extremism.

With the House under Republican control in the next Congress, we need to make it clear that we will stand strong for an America built on hard work, fairness, and equality — not one ruled by xenophobia and fear.

This fight isn’t over — and when it comes up in the next Congress, we need to be on the record saying that Republicans can’t hold reform hostage to political games.

Let’s start by telling that to the Republican leaders today. Will you call Representative Boehner at (202) 225-6205 and Senator McConnell at (202) 224-2541?

Thanks for fighting,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America”

Obviously, these paid hacks are pointing fingers directly at the GOP Senators, but let’s remember that three Republicans voted in favor of DREAM, while five Democrats voted against it. Those five Democratic senators, had they voted in the affirmative, would have given the DREAM Act the 60 votes needed to proceed to debate. So the blame can go to both parties, but it is especially stinging for the Democrats since so much has been made about the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform happening in the current administration.

I sense that beyond sending e-mails to the Democratic Party faithful that the Democrats start doing some soul searching. It’s one thing to call Representative Boehner and Senator McConnell and beg that they keep immigration reform on the radar in the next congress, but it’s another matter entirely to take stock of the Democratic Party and identify where some of its members have acted in an obstructionist fashion as well.

And beyond the two party system, Latinos need to start examining their issue organization leadership. Are we best represented by NCLR or LULAC and its leaders? Could they have been more vocal in speaking out about the immigration conundrum and/or could they have offered more support to the DREAMers? Unless strategies change or evolve, it is going to look like these organizations are disconnected from the masses they purport to represent, especially if they don’t deliver a victory at some point on the immigration issue.

So while Democratic establishment and many beltway organizations will point fingers at the Republicans, DREAM Activists will keep it real. Check out this audio from NPR’s Talk of the Nation from Today with Flavia de la Fuente. Hat tip to Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly.

Tags: Democratic Party · Education · GOP · Government Accountability · Immigration · LULAC · National Council of La Raza · Republican Party

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tweets that mention While OFA Blames the Republicans for DREAM Act loss… -- Topsy.com // Dec 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LatinoPolitics, LatinoPolitics and Flavia de la Fuente. Flavia de la Fuente said: @LatinoPolitics Nice work, ma'am! check it, y'all: http://bit.ly/gbMdex – […]

  • 2 Anna // Dec 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I have had time to think about this now, and the reality is that bill did not have enough support, and you can’t blame the Democrats for that. The kids haven’t made their case in enough areas of the country.

    I think they also need to tell people what is going on in Mexico, etc and why their parents decided to come here. Discuss the effects of NAFTA and the War on Drugs and Cuidad Juarez. Many people travel to Mexico, but they don’t really know what it’s like because they only visit the tourist areas.

    The kids keep using the language of black civil rights movement and Native American history, and I understand that, in part, it’s because the school system does not teach them about their own history. But that’s what they need to draw from. They need to tell people who THEY are. That’s what I think is missing. They are trying to fit themselves into the language of European immigration (just looking for a better life) and black history (Menendez quoted the Langston Hughes poem A Dream Deferred), but their situation is different, and they need to use language that is unique to them.

    There is a long history of indigenous people being displaced, as with NAFTA, and of Mexicans being used as labor in the US. I know so many people who think that Mexico is OK, and that illegal immigrants just want a higher standard of living. They don’t know what it’s really like, or how oppressive it is.

    The Dream Act kids need to show people what that country is really like and how our policies have contributed to such a mass exodus.

  • 3 Tony Herrera // Dec 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    @ Anna

    Your comment misses the larger narrative which is that undocumented youth come from many countries.

    Yes! a good portion of them come from Mexico, but they also come from Central and South America. Amongst them are Koreans, Chinese and Iranians. Many ethnic groups are encompassed within the ranks of DREAM Act youth.

    To say, “you can’t blame the Democrats” and to allege that “the kids haven’t made their case in enough areas of the country” is plainly disrespectful of their tireless efforts and misses the mark on several points on the build-up to the vote and the eventual failure of the DREAM Act in the U.S. Senate.

    First, I recommend that you pay a visit Dreamactivist.org and you’ll see that Dreamer coalitions are all over the country. And, if you’ve follow their movement you would recognize that acts of civil disobedience they’ve engaged in that have garnered press and national media attention. There was a high profile hunger strike in Texas in the office of Congresswoman Kay B. Hutchinson that lasted over 30 days. A hunger strike in Arizona’s Congressman John McCain that lasted over two weeks. Undocumented youth conducted sit ins at the Massachusetts offices of Congressman Scott Brown just to name a few.

    Fact is DREAM Act youth stepped into the fray and provided leadership to an immigration reform movement that had lost it’s way in the failed pursuit of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. To not recognize that is to not appreciate the unprecedented way in which undocumented youth organized and lobbied DC in ways previously unseen from the Latino community.

    Second, Although the Pro-Migrant orgs, and Democrat party groups and operatives are quick to skirt blame for themselves and attempt to cast the failure of the DREAM Acts squarely upon the GOP, does not tell the true story. It does not tell us why the Democrats failed us and how and why 5 Democrats would join the ranks of the GOP and vote “NO’ on the DREAM Act.

    Lastly, you say “The Dream Act kids need to show people what that country is really like.” You and others forget that the only country that most of these students know is this one. They don’t know the country that they came from, some don’t even speak the language of the country they came from.

    These kids are already in their “home” country.

  • 4 Anna // Dec 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I know the undocumented come from many countries, but I was referring specifically to Mexicans/Central Americans because they are the ones who are demonized, and in my opinion, they are ones the country knows the least about. Also, US trade policy (NAFTA, CAFTA) is why they are coming here. They have been wrongly criminalized, and the only way to displel that is to inform people why their parents came here.

    I wasn’t trying to disparage anybody’s efforts. I just meant that more work has to be done convincing the average person, not just Obama and individual Senators. Groups like Numbers USA are making their appeals to the average person, and there needs to be something in place to counter their misinformation. I have said before that I admire everything that Dream Act kids have accomplished.

  • 5 Chicano future tense // Dec 22, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Anna constantly refers to the DREAM activists as “They”…
    …”They” this..”They” that and on and on..

    It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize and snipe at the DREAMERS who put their lives on the line for freedom.

    Telling people what “They” did not do right or what “They” should have done is insensitive and callous,and in my opinion quite frankly.. hypocritical..
    it doesn’t cut it at all.

    It is not “they” who should have ..it is “we”..who should have..

    In general,there is nothing worse than armchair critics who do nothing but criticize and take pot shots at those actually putting themselves on the line for the cause of freedom..

  • 6 webmaster // Dec 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Another thing I have noticed that Anna does is call these young adults “kids” when many of them are nearing 30. I must admit that I have slipped a few times and have called them kids, but when you engage with them, it becomes obvious very quickly that they are very much adults who are willing to go the extra mile for the movement they have built…

  • 7 irma // Dec 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I am Mexican American but I only recently came on board supporting it. I learned about it from
    a Serbian who found out at the age of 15 that he wasnt an American citizen. Fortunately in his case, he was able to settle his immigration issues and now is is on his way to naturalization. This person, however, is an avid advocate of the Dream Act – he has been in the shoes of the Dreamers. Regrettably, there is a misconception that the Dream Act is mainly
    for Mexicans (see Jack and Jill blog).
    The Dreamers need to try to educate the public about exactly what this bill is about and who stands to benefit from it.

  • 8 Anna // Dec 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Re: “It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize and snipe ”

    I didn’t mean to sound like I was sniping, or taking potshots. After talking to people who oppose the Dream Act and after reading comments from other websites, I noticed that the same themes kept coming up. The media have so thouroughly dehumanized “illegals,” that nobody really knows anything about why so many have come here. I just think that people need more information about why they are here and what their parents had to escape.

    There is also a perception that this will increase more illegal immigration. Look at Olympia Snowe’s statement about why she opposed the Dream Act. Even though the undocumented come from all over the world, the objection is to more immigration from Mexico. Instead of running from that, I think people need to humanize illegal immigrants from Mexico and explain the consequences of NAFTA.

    As for calling them “kids,” college age people seem young to me.

    And why is it hypocritical to say “they”?

  • 9 Anna // Dec 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/21/EDRK1GTQGF.DTL#ixzz18sDIfyCq

    From Ruben Navarette:

    Who are the real culprits? Elementary, my dear Watson.

    Who has been stringing along immigration reform advocates with promises to fix a broken system that somehow never gets fixed? Democrats. Who controls the White House and both houses of Congress and has for the last two years? Democrats. Who’s controlled Congress for the last four years, the first two under George W. Bush, who supported immigration reform? Democrats. Which party is deathly afraid of being seen as soft on illegal immigration and consistently has its most vulnerable members trying to strengthen their credentials in this regard by opposing even sensible pieces of reform legislation? Democrats.

    And, most importantly, which party denied Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the five votes he needed for cloture on the Dream Act? Democrats. Forget all the huffing and puffing from Republicans. The key to the demise of the Dream Act are those five Democratic defectors – Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

    You’re telling me that Reid doesn’t have the power to twist arms, offer incentives or make threats to get five measly votes? Or that President Obama, if he were so inclined, couldn’t do the same? They did a good job of rustling up strays during the health care debate. But then, there was an issue that Democratic leaders actually cared about.

  • 10 Anna // Dec 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Ruben Navarette’s take:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2010%2F12%2F22%2FEDRK1GTQGF.DTL

  • 11 Chicano future tense // Dec 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Not to diminish in any way the fact that yes there are DREAMERS from other Latin-American countries as well as from many other parts of the world.

    But the fact is a significant majority of Undocumented workers and DREAMERS are from Mexico,and in the context of American history,society and demographics,it’s racism,bigotry and xenophobia,whenever most Americans think of undocumented workers they more often than not will think of Mexicans.

    Let’s be honest,there is bad blood between the USA and Mexico in a historical and social sense that still remains to this day unresolved for many on both sides.History has a long memory of conquests,humiliations and defeats which can burn and smolder within the heart of a conquered defeated people for centuries and sometimes even thousands of years.

    Mexican Americans for the most part have always wanted to be first class American citizens of equal standing,opportunity,justice alongside the other races.
    But tragically Mexican Americans have been treated more often than not as inferior second class citizens perceived by white european americans as not having worth and unimportant,to be ignored,exploited and oppressed.To be harvested for votes every election cycle than left alone neglected.This has been the pattern of Mexican American treatment in US history.

    I ask a question.
    What do a people do if they constantly have the door slammed in their face whenever they knock on the door of America for equality and equal opportunity?
    How many times can the door be shut in ones face before one begins to question the wisdom of desiring to be an equal member in the conquerers and dominator’s nation and society,only to be rejected,humiliated and insulted over and over again?

    Most Mexican-Americans reject nationalism as a viable road to a better future for Mexicans in the USA.So have I almost all my life.

    But I have to tell you that lately in the course of understanding and comprehending American history and the historical positions of Mexican people in this country,I at times will ask myself some very serious questions.

    Should Mexican people in the USA begin to consider self-determination and control over the affairs and destiny of their own people as a separate and independent political,social and geographical entity with some type of political-geographical autonomy?

    I ask.Is this out of the question?
    Would the Mexican people in the USA be more happier and content with self-rule and government?

    Would Mexican people in the USA be happier and more fulfilled living within their own societies and communities separate and independent of other races..(And I don’t necessarily mean an Aztlan)…without having to deal with the relentless stresses of racism and inter-racial conflicts over resources and power which sometimes takes on the characteristics of a low-intensity social race war??

    At what point, if ever, will Mexican Americans have an epiphany-a clear and definite realization-that they will never achieve equality and justice from a dominant white european society who will never ever permit Mexicans equal standing in society,politics and the economic.?

    Will Mexicans ever decide to answer white european racial nationalism and oppose them with their own Mexican-American nationalism or do we continue to concede,accommodate and tacitly accept our domination, our historical destiny as being a conquered people and just exist that way forever?

    I wonder if others are asking themselves these same questions at this time?

  • 12 irma // Dec 23, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Chicano future tense,

    Your rhetoric sounds like some African American political blogs, whining about white racism directed toward them and the fact that it is holding them back. At some point, one has to take responsibility for your life and do the best you can given the circumstances. The Dreamers and their parents have done just that. In my vieew, they are doing quite well and those of us who were fortunate enough to have been born on the American side should try to help them. So, I will continue to support immigration reform and
    recognize the fact that the Democrats are not going to deliver on this issue. We need to hold back our support from those individuals who voted against the Dream Act and bring in someone new in the next round of elections.
    This will let the Democrats know that they can no longer rely on our votes with giving us something.

  • 13 Chicano future tense // Dec 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    from:VivirLatino

    Maegan writes-

    “It’s been an ongoing struggle in some ways against the progressive movement, “mainstream” progressive orgs in many ways have perpetuated the racism & classism that they claim to be fighting against by viewing issues of our survival as marginal.”

    Your statement here resonates quite strongly with me,I think you have brought something out that deserves much further concern and exploration.

    Don’t get me wrong here in my criticism of the left.I’m not taking anything away from their valuable and important contributions to the Latino struggle for self-determination,for their solidarity with Latino issues and causes which the Democratic and GOP parties would never touch with a ten foot pole.I applaud and cherish their support for Latino issues even through the darkest and most difficult times.Say what you can about the left,they have been and continue to be our closest allies in the struggle.We should respect and take that into overall consideration.

    My criticism is intended as positive constructive criticism to our mostly white comrades and friends on the left,meant to make them even better comrades and individuals in the struggle.

    Having said that,I concur with Maegans criticism of the left.It is valid.

    I myself have for some time now have given considerable thought to the question that if our natural political allies on the left-progressive,socialist and communist organizations and parties perpetuate racism,classism with their patronizing,arrogant and condescending attitudes and practices then who else do Latinos have to turn to as integral organizational allies or as potential organizational partners?

    Surely NOT the Democratic Party,even less so the GOP.They have more than proven their disrespectful,hypocritical and exploitative attitudes towards Latinos.

    I ask,give this situation of Latinos in the USA with all it’s manifest forms of racism and xenophobia permeating every nook and cranny of our society,would it be beyond the realm of possibility to even consider in a any serious way the question of building a movement for liberation and self-determination around a dual-core ideology of of social democracy and nationalism??

    Would Latinos even consider this as an option?

    This is a question which has been on my mind for some time now which I would further explore and study as a genuine possibility if I could see there was shown popular support from the Latino people.

    Would it be madness to even consider the possibility of an independent UNITED LATINO PARTY??

  • 14 Anna // Dec 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I agree with everything Irma said.

  • 15 Chicano future tense // Dec 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Anna says

    “Your rhetoric sounds like some African American political blogs, whining about white racism directed toward them and the fact that it is holding them back.”

    That’s funny,because that’s exactly the same type of rhetoric Rush Limbaugh and other racist right-wing conservative talk show hosts use all the time against Latinos…DREAMERs are whiners,farmworkers are whiners,Undocumented workers are whiners,
    unemployed,exploited and layed-off Latinos are whiners,Latinos are whiners.. etc etc etc…

    In my opinion,your kind of confused and self-hating token rhetoric just undermines the Latino cause and gives the forces of anti-Latino,anti-immigrant racism and xenophobia more ammunition to use against us..

    I’m sure if you gave that same spiel at a Tea Party or a Minuteman rally you would receive thunderous applause. Who knows? maybe Rush would like to interview you on his show too…

  • 16 Chicano future tense // Dec 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    .. and a correction ..and an apology to Anna..

    My post #14 above was directed to Irma’s comment.. not Anna’s..
    sorry Anna..

  • 17 irma // Dec 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I am against the idea of a “Latino ” party mainly because we are not a politically homogeneous group. I for one share views with both the right and the left. It is also true that third parties rarely gain enough power to make a difference. What Latinos have to do is gain a real voice within
    one of the major parties. Since the Democrats take us for granted – I suggest we negotiate with the Republicans. Look it worked for Barack Obama- why not us?

  • 18 irma // Dec 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Chicano Future Tense,

    I didnt say Dreamers were whiners, I said your rethoric was whiny. Yes, Latinos experience racism – so does everyone else. Being a morena, I have experienced this kind of thing within the Latino community as well. But, just as I use an umbrella when it rains, I don’t think about racism unless I am directly confronted with it. Instead, I go about my life- trying to excel in my career, and mentor students
    ( I am an educator). I do go out of my way to mentor Latino students- if they want my advice
    (some don’t ).

    Looking back at the past, won’t help anyone move forward. I am convinced that African American mobility has been stymied by their
    preoccupation of past evils directed toward them. We in the Latino community need to
    focus on today and work to improve tomorrow.
    We cannot change what happened yesterday.

  • 19 Jude Soto // Dec 28, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Very informative. Thanks.

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