LatinaLista — The issue of immigration reform not only divides Congress but it also divides the Latino community. However, there’s one part of immigration reform that has been able to unify Latinos — the DREAM Act. By now, most everyone knows that the DREAM Act is all about allowing undocumented youth, who came to the US at a young age and have spent their formative years here, to gain citizenship if they comply with certain requirements.
It’s an Act that the Obama administration has tried hard to get Congress to pass — with no luck. Basically, it’s been the non-Latino GOP in Congress who have overwhelmingly blocked passage of the bill. Opposition to the DREAM Act has become part of the party platform.
Yet, there’s always been the hope that whoever is President would be compassionate enough to understand that children should not have to pay for the “sins” of their parents. So far, all of us in favor of the DREAM Act have been thoroughly disappointed by the matter-of-fact dismissal of the DREAM Act by each of the candidates.
The only one who came close to supporting it was Newt Gingrich but his condition for support — that all undocumented youth enlist in the military before being considered for citizenship — leaves a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths who know that the military isn’t for everyone. Nor does it send a good message to citizens or the world when the US forcefully funnels a sizable number of residents certain politicians deem “undesirable” into the military. Until there’s a draft that applies to everyone, the military should remain a choice for these undocumented students. Not giving them that choice victimizes them all over again.
So far, Romney and Gingrich have been the only ones who made clear their feelings about the DREAM Act. Now, Ron Paul joined his competitors in leaving no doubt, and he did it in front of a Latino audience in Nevada.
Republican opposition to this one element of immigration reform paints them in a corner that either solidifies a Latino voter’s vote against a GOP nominee or should make Republican Latinos question their party’s wisdom in attacking innocent kids. It’s ironic that all these candidates should be staunch pro-life advocates and believe that life is sacred at conception but is unholy if it’s undocumented.