LatinaLista — As the time draws nearer that Congress could vote on the DREAM Act, more and more supporters are coming forward:
Latina Lista news partner, Hawaii Hispanic News, reported that after a community email campaign last week to urge their congressional representatives to support the DREAM Act, three of the four reps are supporting it, with the fourth rep still undecided.
And a surprise op-ed in the Chicago Tribune in support of the DREAM Act came from a former GOP governor of Illinois, Jim Edgar.
While the framers of the DREAM Act have always prided themselves on the Act’s bipartisan origins, it seems to have been forgotten by some current GOP members who have taken the party mantra — “Make Obama a one-term president” — to heart over doing what is right for those students impacted by this legislation.
For example, Alabama’s Sen. Jeff Sessions drafted a “white paper” about the DREAM Act. Yet, rather than objectively look at what passing the DREAM Act entails for the country and these students who grew up in the United States, Sessions instead chose to use words like “amnesty” or “aliens.” Words that, aside from having negative connotations, misrepresent the truth of what the DREAM Act does and the characterization of these students.
Unfortunately, Sessions is not alone. Two senators from a state that has the second highest number of Latinos in the country are also guilty of playing politics with an issue that has wide-spread support.
Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison seem to forget they represent a state in which 37 percent of the population is Hispanic.
In fact once the US Census figures are tabulated and published, both Cornyn and Hutchison may have to re-evaluate their voting records. It was found that in Bell County Texas, the Latino population isn’t just increasing – it’s exploding!
The latest figures indicate that 16 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic. It’s the nation’s largest ethnic or minority group. Well over one-third of Texans are Hispanics.
In Bell County, the overall growth rate since 1980 has been 81 percent. The rate of growth in the Hispanic population, though, has been 232 percent.
Yet, both Hutchison and Cornyn have indicated that neither is in favor of the current DREAM Act — even while a group of Texas DREAM Act students have gone on a hunger strike to compel Sen. Hutchison to meet with them about the bill.
A Hutchison spokesperson said in a statement to a local television station last week that Hutchison believed “the current Dream Act legislation goes far beyond the intended group of children who have grown up in America.”
What is probably closer to the truth is that Hutchison just uttered the first excuse that came to her mind since she has no intention of voting for it given her party’s war on Obama. Otherwise, she would not have delivered such a “Palin-esque” response.
Cornyn’s statements have run the gambit from condescending to disingenuous to just plain insulting to Latinos of all parties who understand the significance of passing the DREAM Act, especially in Texas.
Next to California, Texas is home to many, many undocumented college students who have their degrees but can’t work. The waste of talent that is being untapped in Texas has no justification.
The potential of these students being able to put their degrees to work or enter the military exceeds beyond jobs or military duty. In a state that is shamed by having so many Latino students drop out of school or get pregnant early, these DREAM Act students are the role models that are desperately needed to start transforming these crisis situations into positive outcomes.
If the GOP continues to focus on making Obama a one-term president rather than recognizing the importance the DREAM Act has for the Latino community then it is quite possible the GOP will be a has-been party, or at the least, the party of ill-repute for conservative Latinos by the time 2012 rolls around.