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Dec-18-2010 19:44printcomments

US Senate: The Grinch that Stole Christmas 2010

Angela M. Kelly of the Washington-D.C-based Center for American Progress Action Fund termed the Senate vote a “Grinch-like rejection.”

Dream Act
Courtesy: theamericano.com

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) - By a margin of five votes, the DREAM Act failed today to achieve the 60 votes necessary to ensure its passage in the US Senate. First introduced in 2001, the Dream Act would have provided a pathway to legalization for hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who enroll in college or join the US military. The vote fell on December 18, which is celebrated around the world as International Migrants Day.

Approved by a slim majority of 216-198 in the US House last December 8, the Dream Act was supported by a broad array of national organizations and individuals, including President Barack Obama, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, law enforcement leaders, and many others.

Pro-Dream Act supporters immediately expressed dismay at the Senate’s action.

“Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats have forgotten the meaning of Christmas,” said Angela M. Kelly of the Washington-D.C-based Center for American Progress Action Fund.

“Rather than offer tidings of comfort and joy, they voted to shatter the hopes and dreams of hundreds of thousands of young people by rejecting the DREAM Act, a limited measure for immigrant youth that would also have strengthened our military and economy.”

Kelley termed the Senate vote a “Grinch-like rejection.”

As it was written, the DREAM Act would have opened to the door to legalization for undocumented young people under 30 years of age who were brought to this country before the age of 16 and count at least five years of residency in the US.

Toddlers when they arrived, many of the so-called Dreamers have been raised in US culture and speak English fluently. With the defeat of the DREAM Act, such young people now face an increased risk of deportation to countries they do not really know.

Outside the beltway, pro-immigrant groups mobilized in support of a movement that picked up steam in recent months as groups of undocumented students and pro-Dream Act youth staged sit-ins and demonstrations around the country.

In New Mexico, for instance, the Las Cruces-based Task Force for Immigrant Advocacy and Services (TIAS) released a statement prior to the vote on the DREAM Act. Made up of social services providers, community advocates, people of faith and academic researchers, TIAS noted that many DREAM generation youth were productive and promising members of the southern New Mexico community, participating in church activities, sports, school clubs and the workplace.

On the other hand, DREAM Act opponents contended that the legislation's passage would reward law-breaking and open the door to “amnesty” for other undocumented residents. On Capitol Hill, Republican Congressmen Lamar Smith of Texas objected to the DREAM Act on the grounds that illegal immigrants would benefit from public funds invested in university education.

“The Dream Act would mean fewer jobs for American workers,” further read a statement posted on Smith’s website. “And the Congressional Budget Office said it would cost taxpayers billions of dollars….”

Smith’s colleague, California Representative Dan Lungren maintained approval of the DREAM Act would trigger a chain of new immigration to the US.

In the Senate, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who once supported comprehensive immigration reform, came out as opposed to the Dream Act. Graham accused the Democrats of playing political games with the legislation, which he said would not fly until other conditions were satisfied.

“We are not going to approve the DREAM Act or any other legalization program as long as our borders are not secure,” Graham said.

Following the Senate’s December 18 failure to move the Dream Act forward, supporters of the proposed law vowed to keep their eyes on the legalization prize and target anti-DREAM Act legislators in future elections. In a statement blasting a “moral and political travesty,” the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) declared that Republicans had lost a “golden opportunity” to mend fences with Latinos.

“It is now crystal clear to Latinos who stood with them and who did not,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguia. Earlier attracting wide interest in Mexico and other Latin American countries, the death of the Dream Act in the 2010 Senate was played up on the main Internet news websites south of the border.

On the eve of the Senate vote, La Jornada columnist Ana Maria Aragones questioned whether US legislators were capable of grasping what was in the best interests of their country. By a margin of five votes, the DREAM Act failed today to achieve the 60 votes necessary to ensure its passage in the US Senate. First introduced in 2001, the Dream Act would have provided a pathway to legalization for hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who enroll in college or join the US military.

The vote fell on December 18, which is celebrated around the world as International Migrants Day.

Approved by a slim majority of 216-198 in the US House last December 8, the Dream Act was supported by a broad array of national organizations and individuals, including President Barack Obama, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, law enforcement leaders, and many others.

Pro-Dream Act supporters immediately expressed dismay at the Senate’s action. “Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats have forgotten the meaning of Christmas,” said Angela M. Kelly of the Washington-D.C-based Center for American Progress Action Fund.

“Rather than offer tidings of comfort and joy, they voted to shatter the hopes and dreams of hundreds of thousands of young people by rejecting the DREAM Act, a limited measure for immigrant youth that would also have strengthened our military and economy.”

Kelley termed the Senate vote a “Grinch-like rejection.”

As it was written, the DREAM Act would have opened to the door to legalization for undocumented young people under 30 years of age who were brought to this country before the age of 16 and count at least five years of residency in the US.

Toddlers when they arrived, many of the so-called Dreamers have been raised in US culture and speak English fluently. With the defeat of the DREAM Act, such young people now face an increased risk of deportation to countries they do not really know.

Outside the beltway, pro-immigrant groups mobilized in support of a movement that picked up steam in recent months as groups of undocumented students and pro-Dream Act youth staged sit-ins and demonstrations around the country.

In New Mexico, for instance, the Las Cruces-based Task Force for Immigrant Advocacy and Services (TIAS) released a statement prior to the vote on the DREAM Act. Made up of social services providers, community advocates, people of faith and academic researchers, TIAS noted that many DREAM generation youth were productive and promising members of the southern New Mexico community, participating in church activities, sports, school clubs and the workplace.

On the other hand, DREAM Act opponents contended that the legislation's passage would reward law-breaking and open the door to “amnesty” for other undocumented residents.

On Capitol Hill, Republican Congressmen Lamar Smith of Texas objected to the DREAM Act on the grounds that illegal immigrants would benefit from public funds invested in university education.

“The Dream Act would mean fewer jobs for American workers,” further read a statement posted on Smith’s website.

“And the Congressional Budget Office said it would cost taxpayers billions of dollars….”

Smith’s colleague, California Representative Dan Lungren maintained approval of the DREAM Act would trigger a chain of new immigration to the US.

In the Senate, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who once supported comprehensive immigration reform, came out as opposed to the Dream Act. Graham accused the Democrats of playing political games with the legislation, which he said would not fly until other conditions were satisfied.

“We are not going to approve the DREAM Act or any other legalization program as long as our borders are not secure,” Graham said.

Following the Senate’s December 18 failure to move the Dream Act forward, supporters of the proposed law vowed to keep their eyes on the legalization prize and target anti-DREAM Act legislators in future elections. In a statement blasting a “moral and political travesty,” the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) declared that Republicans had lost a “golden opportunity” to mend fences with Latinos.

“It is now crystal clear to Latinos who stood with them and who did not,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguia. Earlier attracting wide interest in Mexico and other Latin American countries, the death of the Dream Act in the 2010 Senate was played up on the main Internet news websites south of the border.

On the eve of the Senate vote, La Jornada columnist Ana Maria Aragones questioned whether US legislators were capable of grasping what was in the best interests of their country.

“If the Senate doesn’t approve the Dream Act, an entire generation of young people will be kept in legal limbo, and their potential could be lost,” Aragones wrote. “Mexico already failed to take advantage of them, to the shame of the country. Let’s hope the US and its lawmakers are at least viewed as being more interested in their own country.”

Additional sources.

La Jornada, December 18, 2010. Articles by Ana Maria Aragones and DPA.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico




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