By Anonymous (not verified) on December 23, 2010

Republicans managed to defeat the DREAM Act, but it’s a victory that will haunt them.

The DREAM Act — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — died in the Senate on Dec.18, just five votes away from the 60 needed to advance.

The Republican Party once again demonstrated its disdain toward one of the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in this country: undocumented immigrants.

And let’s not forget the Democrats who voted against it. This group included Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jon Tester of Montana.

If passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama, the DREAM Act would have provided a pathway to citizenship to many undocumented individuals demonstrating a strong commitment toward higher education or service in the military.

I had several reservations with this bill, but not the same ones that the senators voting no had. I didn’t like the word “Alien” in the title; no human being is an alien. I didn’t like the fact that it would have induced young brown people to risk their lives in unjust wars like the one President Bush waged in Iraq. And I didn’t like the fact that it gave special treatment to those who attend college. An immigrant kid who doesn’t go to college still contributes to our society, after all.

Apart from my objections, this bill should have passed. It would have given hope and opportunity to immigrant children who came to this country at least five years ago — often as youngsters.

At the end of the day, while this is a short-term loss for Latinos in this country, in the long term, the Republicans and those conservative Democrats will pay a big price at the ballot box.

The browning of America is a reality that an aging white population needs to come to terms with. As the largest racial minority group in the country with a higher birth rate than the national average, Latinos will inevitably represent a majority in many key states.

Latinos are rising and demanding to be treated as human beings — with our without legal status. We want our children to have an equal shot at the American dream, and not experience an American nightmare.

Alvaro Huerta is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley’s department of city and regional planning and visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

You can read more pieces from The Progressive Media Project by clicking here.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

The Koch brothers get their money's worth in gift to United Negro College Fund.

A fun event ridiculed reactionaries and upheld women's reproductive rights.

By Jenni Dye

Is thinking that I should be paid the same as a man if I do the same work a radical, anti-...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter