As I mentioned a few days ago, Representative Loretta Sanchez was scheduled to give a keynote address on the DREAM Act at Pomona College on Monday, but instead of talking about the DREAM Act, she gave the students an overview of her life story and the story of how she got into Congress.
As you can see from the attached photo/flier, the title of the talk was supposed to be “The DREAM Act: The Status of Immigration Reform”. Listen to the clip below (I apologize for the shaky camera, as I did not have a tripod with me):
The speech was very light on policy and very heavy on self-promotion. Yes, we know that there are few Latinos in Congress, and yes, Bob Dornan (the incumbent Sanchez defeated) was not a very nice guy. She was preaching to the choir — a room filled with mostly Latino Claremont Colleges students. But Representative Sanchez was not addressing grade school or middle school students; she was delivering this talk at the elite Pomona College (consistently ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country with only 16% of all applicants accepted). It’s disappointing that she chose to avoid addressing the DREAM Act and the current status of immigration reform and instead chose to self-promote.
I was able to ask Sanchez a question about the DREAM Act and what she is doing to advocate for immigration reform and the DREAM Act (starting at 23:00), and she provided an interesting answer. Most notably, Sanchez said that immigration reform is not dead, but that it is now harder to do. Then she gave the normal spiel about being an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform instead of piecemeal legislation, along with the usual talking points about securing the borders and the number of visas awarded. Congresswoman Sanchez did talk about separating families in deportation and how un-American those situations are, but she did not say that she would advocate for a deportation moratorium or ask Secretary Napolitano or the President to stop deporting DREAMers, which is what I asked and what some organizations like the Fair Immigration Reform Movement are proposing.
Basically, this speech was a Loretta Sanchez infomercial. So after the Congresswoman was finished, I spoke with two Latina students who viewed the speech, and they too expressed disappointment in the Congresswoman’s remarks. Mayte Sanchez, a second year student at Pitzer said, “I was expecting her to tie in the DREAM Act, but she didn’t do it until asked.” Another student, a senior at Pomona College, added, “She kept this talk very personal to avoid addressing political issues.” I sensed that other students felt that Congresswoman Sanchez condescended to them by not covering the DREAM Act or the status of immigration reform more thoroughly. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Sanchez has treated her audience this way or avoided answering questions about immigration related issues.
What are your thoughts? Should Congresswoman Sanchez speak more about immigration reform or continue to share her life story with us?