LatinaLista — Tomorrow, both the House and the Senate are expected to vote on the DREAM Act. While hope runs high that enough Republicans will join in granting these deserving young people a chance to make a true life for themselves in the United States, expectations are more guarded among supporters of the bill.
Some Republicans have consistently been disappointing in their opposition, especially when they regurgitate exaggerations and outright falsehoods about what will be enacted if the bill should pass.
And even some Latino Republicans have proven disappointing as well. Over the weekend, former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin and former Sec. of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez appeared on Univision’s Al Punto with Jorge Ramos.
Both are staunch Republicans yet unlike most of the Latino Republicans who have called the party to task for opposing the DREAM Act, these two went out of their way to say that it was just the extreme right that was driving the debate. Also, they pointed out that the Democrats had opposed the DREAM Act at one time themselves and that all of this was nothing more than a political game.
While each acted as if they were in favor of the DREAM Act, their silence on national TV for not admitting the reality that currently exists in the GOP against the DREAM Act does a disservice to not only the DREAM Act students but Latino constituents who thought the GOP party shared their conservative values.
If Marin and Gutierrez had spoken out, like some of their colleagues, then Latino constituents would know that this opposition to the DREAM Act is fueled by the so-called extreme right as claimed by Morin. Yet, silence is as good as an endorsement and speaks just as loudly.
It also illustrates that all this talk by the GOP that Latinos should join their party because of a shared set of conservative values is nothing but talk — for a simple reason.
While it is true that by nature and culture most Latinos are as conservative as Republicans, it is also true that the coveted set of conservative values that the GOP likes to tout as the bond between them and Latinos is trumped by one overriding value — the value we place on our children, all Latino children.
Denying our children the opportunity to have the DREAM Act passed is a serious insult to the Latino community. It’s a denial that flies in the face of what Congress should do for the future of this country.
Yesterday, the US Census released new information about the growth of the country. If it were not for Latino youth, this country would have a dismal future:
Without Hispanics, the number of young people in the U.S. would have declined between 2000 and 2010. Based on the estimates, the non-Hispanic youth population declined somewhere between 1.25 million and 2.9 million.
Without youth to enter the workforce and replace older workers, what happens to the country?
Without an educated youth entering the workforce, what happens to the country?
Marin and Gutierrez were right when they said that opposition against the DREAM Act is nothing but a political game but there is one slight difference. What we know now about the future role of Latino youth in this country wasn’t known before.
It’s up to the GOP leadership to show they truly do share the same set of conservative values as Latinos and have the vision and common sense to see just how instrumental passage of the DREAM Act is to the future of this country.
Or they can play politics as usual and show the Latino community just how different GOP values are from Latino values.