LatinaLista — Something interesting has been happening since the Senate defeat of the DREAM Act before Christmas. It seems more columnists and constituents, who never wrote about the issue before, are writing about it now and all seem to be chastising the GOP and conservative Democrats for their decision to deny deserving students a chance to normalize their citizenship status.
Because of what happened in the Senate, and the unlikelihood that the DREAM Act will be brought up again anytime soon, there are signs that states are beginning to step in and create their own versions of the DREAM Act. Just think of it as the reverse of what Arizona did by passing SB1070.
For example, in Maryland:
The Maryland legislation would provide the tuition benefit for students who have attended two years of Maryland high school, have parents or caregivers who are state taxpayers and who express an intent to seek legal status in the country.
O’Donnell, the top Republican in the House of Delegates, said the Maryland version of the DREAM Act has a “decent chance of passing.” But that doesn’t make it right, he said.
There is hope that California will also play a more active role in allowing undocumented youth to pursue an education:
With Governor-elect Jerry Brown set to soon take the reins from Arnold Schwarzenegger, California could become just the right place for Dream Act advocates to sow their initial seeds of a nationwide, youth-led grassroots campaign that could possibly spread beyond the state.
As the Times notes in the article, Jerry Brown could play a pivotal role in legislation making it easier for illegal immigrants to attend school in California, saying that he would support state financial aid for the children of illegal immigrants attending local colleges.
All of these examples, and admittedly, they are only a few, but I think they are the tip of what is to come. Like a slow moving wave, this backlash against those who voted against the DREAM Act, is building momentum. The American people are finally speaking out about their disgust with Congressional leaders who didn’t think twice about making these young people the sacrificial lambs in their political strategy.
It’s a strategy the GOP and conservative Democrats need to rethink before the tsunami hits and they find themselves as footnotes in the history of human rights for Latino immigrants.
In another example that more and more people are speaking out about the DREAM Act failure to pass, is the following excerpt from an op-ed that appeared on CNN.com:
Why the DREAM Act needs its next act
By Daniel Altschuler
(CNN) — 2010 began with promise for advocates of immigration reform, but it ended with a stark reminder of the obstacles they face.
In the two weeks since a Senate filibuster killed the DREAM Act (it stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), commentators and political strategists have already shifted their focus to the next Congress, where any legislation including legalization of undocumented people is unlikely.
To chart a path for the future, however, it’s useful to take stock of what DREAM’s failure reveals about the bill’s opponents.
In letting this piece of legislation die, 45 senators allowed restrictionist sentiments to prevail over economic rationality and showed why it is so hard to have a sensible national conversation about immigration. (It won’t help them much with the Latino electorate either.)
In actual fact, considering immigration through an economic lens makes sense these days, as Americans and their political leaders grapple with an economy climbing out of crisis.
It should have been a no-brainer for Congress to promote the development of skilled workers and encourage them to stay here. Instead, they killed the bill that directly confronted what to do with the immigrant potential we already have within our borders.
DREAM was not about the relative merits of bringing in new immigrants — an important question for another day. The most recent version of DREAM offered a way to bring roughly 1 million motivated high school graduates into our formal economy…
Finish reading Why the DREAM Act needs its next act