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Undocumented Students Give Congress an F

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Posted on Dec 22, 2010
AP / Jason Redmond

Leslie Perez, left, and Grecia Mondragon react to televised coverage as the Dream Act fails to move forward in the Senate.

By Aura Bogado

Jennifer was three days away from graduating from Yale when I met her for lunch in New Haven, Conn., last May. Like most in her class, she was excited to have her family in town for the event and was busy packing and preparing to say goodbye to the small city she had called home for the past four years. Unlike most of the graduating seniors, however, Jennifer was unsure about her future. She would soon have a piece of paper called a Yale degree, but she was missing a piece of paper that would grant her citizenship. Jennifer and nearly 2 million other young people live lives of legal uncertainty.

Born in war-torn Colombia, Jennifer, who prefers not to be identified by her last name, doesn’t remember coming with her mother to the United States to join her father when she was 13 months old. Despite the fact her father had papers, she waited more than 20 years without a change in her immigration status. Jennifer was so well adapted that it wasn’t until middle school that she realized she wasn’t born in the U.S. Her parents, hoping her immigration status would be adjusted somewhere along the way, made excuses when she wanted to get a driver’s license or a job. It didn’t dawn on her until she started filling out college applications, and realized she didn’t have a Social Security number, that she was undocumented.

Nevertheless, she dedicated herself to her schoolwork, earned a scholarship to the Ivy League university of her choice and four years later graduated from Yale with distinction. But her inability to acquire even a state identification card meant that as her classmates were booking flights to start new careers around the world, Jennifer would have to be driven back to her home in Texas, where she thought she might be able to work baby-sitting neighbors’ kids for the summer.

Jennifer would have directly benefited from passage of the Dream Act, which was blocked in the U.S. Senate last Saturday. The legislation would have allowed undocumented students—1.9 million by one estimate—who graduated from high school or earned a GED to gain conditional lawful permanent residence, provided they had lived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and had been present in the country for more than five years. Once students either achieved two years toward a bachelor’s degree or served two years in the armed services, the conditional portion of the status would be removed, allowing them to apply for full citizenship in the country they call home.

The House had already passed the measure, and many were hopeful that the Senate would do the same. After all, since the first version of the legislation was introduced as a bipartisan effort nine years ago, the Dream Act has gained massive support from factions as varied as community groups, universities, business interests and even the Department of Homeland Security. Many have blamed a small group of Democrats who voted against the bill in the lame-duck session. Some students who would be most affected by the legislation claim that powerful lobbyists, in addition to important politicians, worked against their interests.


Square, Site wide
Mohammad Abdollahi, who co-founded, says that by last February, Washington insiders were privately conceding that comprehensive immigration reform would not pass this year. Knowing that a larger, all-encompassing bill would not proceed, Abdollahi and other undocumented students began to work toward reviving the Dream Act. They felt strongly that, with the proper support, they could get the legislation passed and signed this year. But Dreamers, as this group of students call themselves, say they were discouraged from working for reform. In a video posted on YouTube, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., patronized a group of Dreamers camped out in front of Sen. John McCain’s offices in July demanding that the Arizona Republican move forward on the act. Gutierrez is heard telling the Dreamers that the entire Hispanic Congressional Caucus “disagree[s] with you in your analysis of the present moment.” Despite Gutierrez’s scolding, the Dreamers knew the bill had broad support and they worked to get it to the floor for a vote.

When the Dream Act cleared the House earlier in December, it was the first time in 20 years that a pro-immigration bill passed either chamber of Congress—all because a compelling group of affected students worked nonstop to make it happen. But they didn’t enjoy the sustained support of a large number of Democrats, who told them to wait until comprehensive reform happens at a later date. Tired of waiting for that magical piece of legislation, Dreamers worked day and night. They came up five votes short in the Senate. They say the help of Washington’s powerful could have changed that, but the powerful didn’t believe enough in the Dream to make it a reality. Comprehensive immigration reform supporters, politicians chief among them, may have clung to their ideal so tightly that they didn’t see the potential for success stemming from a band of affected students.

For now, the Dreamers have a lot to be proud of. Like Jennifer, they continue to graduate and contribute to their society any way they can. During a time when states increasingly criminalize brown people, they managed to get support for a pro-immigrant bill in the House. They also set a new model of dignity for being “undocumented and unafraid,” celebrating their marginalized status as a core from which to build a vibrant new movement. This grass-roots group of students has earned the respect of legislators, educators, media pundits and others. Perhaps Washington insiders should listen.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, December 24, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

re: William Bull, December 24 at 5:58 am Link to this comment (Unregistered commenter)

For a country built on the backs of immigrants, the majority who were legal, spent 10 or more years in the naturization process and kept their noses clean and contributed to the tax base, I find your commments unusually ignorant.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 24, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

William Bull, December 24 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank God and the real American people (not Congress) that these Beaners have been stopped. We don’t need more of this filth polluting our country. I hope by this time next year round ups and group deportations are the ENFORCED law of the land.

God bless America and all real Americans.

Perfect name for a bigot full of bull.

One presumes Mr. Bullshit hates LEGAL and native-born Latinos equally as much as illegal ones.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment


I swear to GOD if you tell my friends (I have three you know, only two of whom I have to pay for saying so) I’ll kick your ass!

Look, it’s Christmas Eve eve, and I’m having the traditional spaghetti dinner with my wife and son, whom I rarely see, then off to a spy movie about Valerie Plame.

Shutting down for the weekend. Best to you and yours.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 23, 2010 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

Rico and PH:

You both make excellent points.  I’m telling you, Rico, yer gonna get your “Conservative Card” yanked—you keep making too much sense.

The most IMPORTANT thing you said, and I agree fully, is that the issue of illegal aliens (primarily Latinos) is extremely complicated.  Every proposed solution in every direction has profound consequences.  But I don’t see a problem with the Dream Act letting a select few who MUST meet PH’s criteria as well as several others being green-lighted to Perm Res and potential citizenship.

Actually, the line for Indians getting green cards is very, very long.  My friend would have a far easier time of it were he recognized as “Canadian”.  I don’t have numbers but I’ve worked with dozens of Indians (and Chinese) all in the same residency boat and the number who achieve citizenship is vanishingly small. I know only a few.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, December 23, 2010 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment


Before we start selling get out of jail free tickets to illegal aliens I want them thoroughly vetted before being given a green card, no multiple offenders.  Some will simply have to go.

While under a green card status, require a working knowledge of english, reading and writing skills and some knowlege of our nations history before citizenship is awarded. 

Applicants aspiring to become U.S. citizens should demonstrate a willingness to assimilate into our nation.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment


Your example, unfortunately, is probably a bad one. I’m pretty sure the Indian quota is higher than the Canadian one. It might be to your friend’s benefit in the long run to be Indian first and Canadian second.

You’ll have to show me with numbers whether the policy is racist. I’m betting more Asians are getting in than Brits, in both absolute and relative numbers.

Is the H1B visa program “classist” or “elitist” since it favors the well-educated Korean techie over the Italian bricklayer?

Your “economic” vs “political” asylum point is valid. But nations are “political” entities first and foremost. Their “economic” system is not what defines their borders, especially in the 21st century. Multinational corporations are excoriated for shipping jobs overseas. The irony of course, is that capital is far more mobile than labor, precisely for the reason you point out- “economic” asylum”, i.e., labor moving to the capital- is prohibited. So the capital has to go to where the labor is.

Consider the consequences of a policy where children of illegals weren’t considered illegal. Can you morally justify kicking out the parents and leaving the limbo-status children here? Would even one additional illegal make the trip, kids in tow BECAUSE OF the fact that he could use his non-illegal kids as a stay out of jail free card?

I know these are only objections and not solutions, but it reinforces the fact that this is more than a problem of simple justice.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

What’s wrong with our immigration laws? First off, they are blatantly racist.

A friend of mine is Canadian.  He’d like to become an American.  There’s a quota for how many Canadians can apply for citizenship.  My friend, however, when he applies is not listed as Canadian, but as Indian, because that’s where he was born and raised.  So, despite his legal status as a Canadian citizen, subject to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of such, to the HSA, he’s “Indian”.  Why? Because of his ethnicity.

Our government has always recognized political amnesty for political refugees.  Yet somehow, a political system that leaves robs poor people of even enough to eat, if they are “friendly” means people fleeing it aren’t “political” refugees, but, rather “economic” refugees and therefore are unacceptable.  A well-fed Cuban is welcome as a refugee but a starving Haitian is not.

I would also always argue that children of illegal immigrants, and any others brought to this country against their will (such as women forced here to be prostitutes) should have a different status than “illegal” however that is legally defined, and that status should be open to a more flexible judicial review.

Finally, I would make all wealthy Republicans and donors to the Republican and teaparty pay for it, matching the $4000/ head so they’d have to divide the $48 billion amongst themselves.  This is as punishment for being incredibly selfish and heartless bastards who happily sank our economy, and sponsor companies that flaunt American labor laws to hire illegals.

Just kidding—no way to ever get this last one passed…..

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By Immigrant, December 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This “Dream Act…” in the first place. Coming here with your family or yourself you are illegal and you should go where your parents suppose to raise you. America is not your parent.
Spanish speaking and other illegal immigrant are taking away many resources from UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ,,,this is not United States of Mexico??????
Why illegal and undocumented immigrants expect American people to pay and provide facilities for them to go to College???
Why so much expectations???
They are lucky that government is not hanging them and let them live.
I came to United States of America 20 years ago. I went to college and graduate and not I am losing a chance of getting a job because I do not know English. Enough is enough stop paying the government money to illegal immigrant…

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By David J. Cyr, December 23, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Carl ?):

“This so-called DREAM act would deny millions of poor Americans a chance to attend college (the slots or limited) or join our military (which already rejects 80% of 18-year old citizens for varied reasons)”

The “varied reasons” that the military rejects applicants:

1) Not smart enough to know left from right.

2) Too smart to take orders.

Everyone else is recruitable to be expendable.

The “progressive” liberals shouldn’t be eligible, because they all meet that not smart enough to know the Left from the Right disqualification.

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By rico, suave, December 23, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment


I’m not taking anything you say personally. I trust you.

Who can object to your sentiment when you couch it in terms of “punishing the kids?” But in my opinion, it’s a cynical card to play. Any tough love measure would invite a charge of being anti-kid, and how can you defend yourself against that?

Good idea about the 4 grand. It’s been floated already I think in one form or another.

Yes we must address the problem, but it must be more comprehensive than, and must NOT be led off with, a DREAM Act.

What do you find objectionable in our immigration laws? How would you change them without diluting or weakening the concepts of sovereignty and nation? (I know that might be considered a false premise, but give it a try.)

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By Inherit The Wind, December 23, 2010 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

You knew we’d get into it sooner or later. Hope you realize it’s not personal.

If you infer that I meant only the US does this, that’s an invalid inference. But I’m not Swedish or Malaysian or Argentinian.  Their people need to question their immigration policies and laws.  I question ours.

I have NO problem with the idea that people who desperate for a better life and bring their kids here illegally are responsible.  But how do you propose holding them responsible without punishing the kids?

I’m all for a whole penalty and tax scheme that allows undocumented aliens legal access to the US and even a shot at citizenship, if they don’t have other criminal tendencies.  Hell, lots of criminals get legal access to the US.  It’s no secret that every immigrant ethnic group always brings its own mafia class with them, from Jamaicans to Russians, from Italians to Irish, Jews, Chinese and Vietnamese, they come, like the rats came back to Europe with the Crusaders, bring the Plague.

So? If we charge each illegal immigrant $4000 and there are 12,000,000, that’s $48 BILLION into the Treasury…not a bad revenue

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By rico, suave, December 23, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment


“...people brought here as children, many as infants, without choice or freewill,...” The reader is left to fill in… brought here “by whom?” but nudged into thinking some evil forces in the US took away their choice and free will. Why don’t you demand that the adults involved take responsibility for their kids’ predicament rather than put all the responsibility on our government?

And what of children brought here at an older age, say ten? To paraphrase you:

“The REAL danger is: [Parents bringing children to] a country they never knew and to which they have no real ties and probably will fail.” Now THAT I can agree with.

“ANY alien, from new illegal to permanent resident, can be subject to deportation, depending how the US Govt decides to interpret the law.”

You nudged the reader into thinking that the US is the only nation on earth which handles “aliens” the way you describe; indeed, whether the term “alien” as we use it is even understood outside the US. (Of course, we know that some countries do not deport their aliens. They merely shoot them.)

Rendition and torture?

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By Carl, December 23, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

American citizens give Congress an A on this issue, since the vast majority oppose Corporate America’s plan to grant another amnesty, even partial ones. Illegal immigration hurts the working poor more than anyone else. If this act passes, millions more foreigners will flood across, crowd our schools, and then demand amnesty for their kids, lest the give Congress an “F”.

This so-called DREAM act would deny millions of poor Americans a chance to attend college (the slots or limited) or join our military (which already rejects 80% of 18-year old citizens for varied reasons) so that foreigners can take their place. Why do so many so-called progressives hate blacks and other American born minority citizens, even of Mexican descent?

I can’t understand why anyone supports this, unless they are confused foreigners who think they have a right to push American citizens aside, and a few feeble minded Americans who are easily fooled by corporate spin. Note that neo-Nazi right winger Orin Hatch sponsored this bill. Meanwhile, those foreigners lucky enough to attend our taxpayer funded schools should return to the native land of birth and join their military and attend their colleges, and help fix their nations.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 23, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment


Maybe you’d better read the article again. The Dream act applies to people brought here as children, many as infants, without choice or freewill, who then grew up here thinking they were Americans.

ANY alien, from new illegal to permanent resident, can be subject to deportation, depending how the US Govt decides to interpret the law.  Plus, we now know, that even without the law, via “Special Rendition” they can be forcibly deported to a country which will secretly torture them for “us”.

Of COURSE deportation is a threat! It’s always a threat!

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, December 23, 2010 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

Any parent knows that with the plethora of forms ones children bring home from school on the first day of school to be filled out that these students are hardly ‘undocumented’.

Yes, and most of the forms are in Spanish too.

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By Psychobabbler, December 23, 2010 at 12:53 am Link to this comment

Maybe if my government spent half as much effort making K-12 a safe learning environment as they do brown nosing the board of directors at UCLA via peddling pesos we might not have such a terrible education problem.

Maybe it is just a coincidence that my governments main campaign contributor is the University of California.

Maybe those resources should be directed towards the American citizens who constantly dig through my trash for aluminum cans for F@$ks Sake!

Maybe it is not my responsibility to concern myself with why Mexico is producing and exporting so much poverty.

Maybe I should concern myself with the poverty that is being produced in my community and my country.

Maybe I am subconsciously a closet Klansman.

Maybe miniature monkeys with fly out of my butt and eat my brains.

Maybe it is not such a great idea to start thinking about my thoughts.

Maybe some day “High School” will be less like prison and more like what it was intended to be.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 22, 2010 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment


“Deportation” has never crossed my lips. And “Deportation to a country they never knew…”? We’re not talking about second generation kids here, are we? I thought DREAM was about bright, ambitious teenagers fresh from Mexico who want to go to university and live the “dream”. Am I wrong? Does the DREAM Act apply to three year olds?

Foreclosure laws…? I’m lost.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment


In principle, I don’t disagree with strong penalties for employers who hire illegals, and certainly not for secure borders.  But your point about rewarding parents with allowing their kids to stay bothers me, a lot.

The kids are people, and you cast them as chattel of their parents, responsible for somebody else’s sin.  I don’t believe in Original Sin, that you are born owing for some one else’s corruption.

There’s even a line in the Constitution about “no corruption of blood” (meaning treason by an individual cannot cause his family to be punished solely for being related).

So…are you willing to hurt the innocent to hurt the guilty, or willing to tolerate a reward to the guilty to prevent hurting the innocent?

Your examples, Rico, are spurious.  The REAL danger is: Deportation to a country they never knew and to which they have no real ties and probably will fail.

I wish the people who are so big on lowest and the poorest following our immigration laws were as vigilant and determined to force the RICHEST to follow the fore-closure laws….Which crime hurts America worse? Where would YOU rather spend resources: Deporting kids who make it through college or prosecuting illegal foreclosures including forced entry, frequently into the wrong homes?

It’s all about choices, Rico.

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, December 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

“There’s a place where i’ve been told
Every street is paved with gold
And it’s just across the borderline
And when it’s time to take your turn
Here’s one lesson that you must learn
You could lose more than you’ll ever hope to find

When you reach the broken promised land
And every dream slips through your hands
Then you’ll know that it’s too late to change your mind
‘cause you’ve paid the price to come so far
Just to wind up where you are
And you’re still just across the borderline

Up and down the rio grande
A thousand footprints in the sand
Reveal a secret no one can define
The river flows on like a breath
In between our life and death
Tell me who’s the next to cross the borderline

En la triste oscuridad (in the sad darkness)
Hoy tenemos que cruzar (today we have to cross)
Este ro que nos llama ms all (this river which calls us further away)

But hope remains when pride is gone
And it keeps you moving on
Calling you across the borderline

When you reach the broken promised land
Every dream slips through your hands
And you’ll know it’s too late to change your mind
‘cause you pay the price to come so far
Just to wind up where you are
And you’re still just across the borderline
Now you’re still just across the borderline
And you’re still just across the borderline”

Ry Cooder

It’s all about the money. The vast majority of illegals come here to be more prosperous second class citizens. They chase the American Dream, wanting a better life for their children, like uncounted millions before them, but these chasers are unwanted by xenophobes because of the color of their skin and because they are different.

If these xenophobes feel that the law is so sacrosanct, why aren’t they calling for war crimes tribunals to try U.S. War Criminals? Why is it that only the weak and powerless should be subject to the absolutism of the law? Like Pontius Pilot these xenophobes wash their hands, and say let them suffer, it’s not my affair, after all, they broke the law.

Parents who toil for years in the hope of giving their children a better life are told that their children are unwanted, illegal, and not legitimate heirs to the American Dream.

When it comes to deportation, I’d prefer to see these xenophobes deported because of their lack of compassion, and because of their mean spirited lack of basic humanity. Send them back to their ancestral homes and let them suffer from the stigma of their xenophobia, and let them experience being unwanted in lands that are foreign to them, or better yet, let them be recognized, stigmatized, and treated as aliens in the land they claim as their own.

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By marko, December 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jennifer got a 200K education and preferential admission off the backs of American workers.

All children are responsible for their parents mistakes as our children are paying for not deporting these law breakers.

The jails are full of parents that broke the law and their children go without, these parents should be in there as well.

Tax evasion…....every single one of them.

Mexico should get and F for not dealing with poverty and expecting the US to deal with it and pay and educate them while they do it.

Send them all back.  The mormon church sends people off to foreign countries to work with 90 days immersion language classes.  Their parents don’t even speak english and these kids speak spanish…....send them back.  They are stealing from the children of the men that were slaughtered for our freedom.

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By Timothy Gawne, December 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It should be a law that for anyone who votes for or advocates the “DREAM” act,
that none of their children or grandchildren should be allowed to go to college.

It is, frankly, disgusting so see these wealthy limousine liberals demanding that
poor Americans give up their children’s ability to go to college to make room for
foreign nationals (mostly Mexicans) that snuck into the country illegally.  It is
certain that none of the wealthy and connected congresspeople voting for the
DREAM act will ever have their kids not be able to go to college.  Let them
practice what they preach, and I will consider granting them the moral right to
argue their case.  But not before.

Remember, the Mexicans have their own country, they can go to school there. 
If the Mexican people have fouled their own nest so badly that they consider
living there intolerable, that is unfortunate, but to make poor American citizens
and permanent residents pay for this is grossly unfair. 

And consider: emigration is a safety valve that lets corrupt governments avoid
reform.  There is a long track record of countries being prevented from
exporting their surplus population then going on to become prosperous: Japan
after WWII and Western Europe after the end of colonialism come to mind.  A
world without borders is a world that will be dragged down to the level of the
worst Sweatshop republic possible.

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By manny s, December 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

surfnow, says My family has been in this country for
250 years… wow i wonder who stamped your visa, i
wonder how many of your family members could show us
the papers. i bet you had more than a few illegals but
there wasn’t anyone trying hard as heck to deport your

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

I said in a post on this subject several months ago that employers should be severely sanctioned for hiring illegals: If immigrants can’t be assured of a job, why would they then come? The fact that we look the other way regarding employers is the true hypocrisy in my view.

And I still believe that the DREAM act would make it more attractive for illegals to come absent addressing the border security and employer sanction issues at the same time.

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By SoTexGuy, December 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Secure borders first..

About the complaints that the path to US citizenship is too hard or
complicated… should it be easy?

One view of the so-called Dream act is that it tells working class immigrants..
WE DON’T WANT YOU.. but we’ll take your children if they pump your incomes
into our University systems or die in our ill-conceived wars.

I do not agree with the racist rabble on most any subject.. yet even the option
to join the armed forces is specious! What? we don’t have enough poor people
or those otherwise left out of the economic ‘revolution’ to man the fronts of our
war economy?

And here it is again.. just this morning while I was hiking near the Rio Grande
River I was greeted by an armed man, a representative or one of the countless
agencies tasked with overseeing these areas.. I was ‘risking my life’ and more to
be where I was.. IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA .. a few miles from my
home, no less. I challenge the talking heads and bleeding heart immigrant ‘advocates’ to demonstrate they have any real knowledge of what is going on at our borders!

You want a Dream Act? Dream that Mexico takes responsibility for it’s own
population.. Dream that needed labor jobs pay a living wage so Americans will
take them on.. Dream that our oversees causes are just and we don’t need
foreigners to fill the ranks of our expeditionary forces..

Yeah, I have a dream.


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By Gmonst, December 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Rico, I do actually agree with you on the the three pronged approach.  However, I still see your current position as throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Rejecting the DREAM act because it only deals with one aspect of the immigration issues seems counterproductive to me.  The undocumented immigrants are already coming here, they are already having their kids educated here.  It is something that needs to be addressed, and is vitally important to those who would benefit from it.

I will say that I am constantly surprised how little of the immigration debate focuses on the employers.  Especially the big industry employers.  Its really the employers that drive the whole process of illegal immigration.  I don’t blame the immigrants.  If I were in their position I would do the same thing.  Yet we seem to always focus on them as the bad one and not the owners of the industries that employ them and profit from the cheap labor.

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By frecklefever, December 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment


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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, December 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

I generally agree Gmonst, but I am one of those who thinks the solution is three pronged- border security, employer penalties, AND a path to citizenship. DREAM addresses only the last. A functioning DREAM Act would tell foreigners, “Come on in, get your kids educated here!” No longer would parents have to consider the welfare of their kids before deciding to come across the border- their kids would automatically be taken care of. Borders will remain just a porous, and employers- you and me- would still offer them jobs to come.

It’s the camels nose argument: Once the DREAM Act establishes the “principle” of bypassing the normal path to full citizenship integration, then what’s to stop a bill guaranteeing Medicaid or unemployment insurance on “hardship” grounds, or the right to vote based on the 14th Amendment. At which point, as I said before, the term “citizen” will come to mean “anyone standing on US soil at any given time.”

No other country on earth handles immigration as equivocally as we do.

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By Gmonst, December 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

I won’t go so far as to say it is solely racism which drives any opposition to the DREAM act, but I do think that racism is part of the picture.  If not for the politicians involved, then at least in large portion of the constituents they are serving.  Lets not be so thick to pretend there isn’t a lot of prejudice toward Hispanic people in our society. 

However, another big factor is the feeling that we are rewarding the illegal behavior of the parents by giving the kids a path to citizenship. I am sure that is how many see the DREAM act.  Like opposition to allowing young people access to condoms
This is just one of those situations where allegiance to a principle ignores the reality and allows a problem to continue.  Yes perhaps the parent shouldn’t have come here in the first place.  But they did come here, and they were able to build a life despite being on the outside of our system. 

If no white Americans had looked to cut some corners and hire the cheap and illegal labor then we would have no immigration issue.  Yet we did, and continue to do so.  Now we have these kids who came with the parents.  They are here, that is a reality.  We can either decide to let them become part of the “American Dream” or we can continue to relegate them to being part of our second class system.  The reality is that if you relegate intelligent, diligent, and educated kids to being permanent members of the serf class, many will pursue the American Dream outside the system, which often means through crime. In the end no one wins.  Its really us who created this problem and instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, we should be adopting practical solutions like the DREAM Act.

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By Douglas Rivlin, December 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One factual error I saw: The DREAMers, including Mohommad, who shot the video of Rep. Gutierrez’ phone call and posted part of it on YouTube, were not sitting-in at Sen. McCain’s office but rather at Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office in Washington.  Brent Wilkes of LULAC called Rep. Gutierrez (several times) and begged him to try to talk the DREAMers out of getting arrested in Reid’s office (and Wilkes claims he did not notice the video camera capturing the whole thing).  The Congressman is clear that he opposes the tactic of civil disobedience in the Majority Leader’s office because Reid was (and is) a great supporter of DREAM and CIR and might not appreciate getting targeted by allies - like a lot of other Members, including Rep. Gutierrez.  I think the conversation was clear (although the edited version posted to YouTube makes it somewhat less clear) that the Congressman saw a different path to getting the DREAM Act passed at that point in time, but it was a tactical disagreement.  Rep. Gutierrez not only adopted the DREAM-only tactic of this group of DREAMers (and others), but was instrumental in getting the bill passed in the House (it could not have happened without him) and in keeping it in-play in the Senate, with the help of Reid and others, until it finally failed to get the super-majority needed for Senate passage.  I just wanted to clarify from my perspective and I understand that many DREAMers may see events differently.
Douglas Rivlin, press secretary to Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-IL-4

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By rico, suave, December 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment


At the risk of sounding facile-

We have a path to citizenship, and we have a special visa program for the best and brightest already in place.

As for the hardships these kids may endure, their parents could have considered that before they brought them here. And how can you consider being denied in-state tuition and/or the inability to join the military a “hardship”? My kid can’t go to Berkeley as cheaply as the DREAM Act would allow Tia Carmen’s niece to. How is that a hardship that falls only on illegal Hispanic kids?

And to call someone- who believes in sovereignty and the meaningfulness of national borders, who believes that “illegal” means “illegal” not “undocumented”, who believes that the US government is not upholding its own laws and is actually preventing states from doing it for them- a racist, is REALLY getting tiresome. I personally resent it.

There is NO question that every racist white Republican bigot out there is anti-DREAM Act(except for the cynical ones who believe, like Cyr points out, that they will make good cannon fodder). But that does NOT prove that the obverse is true, nor does it quantify racist white Republican bigots.

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By David J. Cyr, December 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

For those who are not “normal” and therefore possibly educable:

Spend a half hour watching the video (link below) of military strategist Thomas P. M. Barnett lecturing the very hip and über “progressive” TED community, back in April of 2008, when they were in a state of ecstasy awaiting their turn to manage the military might of the United States.

Barnett provided a casually transparent briefing on how to properly effectively execute 21st Century global dominating fascism competently… something TED believes to be one of its “ideas worth spreading.”

Notice how often the liberals belly laughed during Barnett’s presentation… and **what** they laughed about. Barnett received a standing ovation.

Thomas Barnett: The Pentagon’s new map for war and peace

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By Inherit The Wind, December 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment


Why else would anyone want to deny a path to citizenship for the Best and Brightest who came through no fault of their own?

It’s not for their parents, Tio Sancho or Tia Carmen, or for the kid who keeps getting arrested.  It’s for the most desirable.

Notice that the ones who oppose such appropriate treatment of INNOCENTS are somehow the same ones who are gung ho to defend the unborn—on the grounds they are INNOCENT too.  The hardship to be imposed on these kids is immense.

And, as you well know, the vast, overwhelming majority are Hispanic.  Why then the opposition to this on the flimsy grounds of “amnesty” as if that’s a dirty word?

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By rico, suave, December 22, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment


Impressive analysis. Loony, but impressive.

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By Truth, December 22, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Throw her out.  I don’t give a damn if you cure cancer (in which case you’d probably be given honorary citizenship), we all have to answer for the mistakes of our family - her parents sentenced her to this - as my parents sentenced me to a neverending hell.  Illegals should be sent home to build their own countries.

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By David J. Cyr, December 22, 2010 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Is the Republican opposition to the Pentagon’s Dream Act racist? Yes it is… in an openly honest retrograde way.

However, the Democrat support for the Pentagon’s Dream Act is also racist… but in a far more sinister and deeply sick way.

The liberal racists are misusing the aspirations of young brown strivers to promote a policy purposefully designed to fill body bags with young brown bodies, so the Pentagon won’t come knocking on the doors of proper white liberal parents, to collect the highly educated but underemployed “nice” still dependent kids, who have moved back home… not knocking on liberal doors to feed the perpetual wars that Democrats never waste an opportunity to vote for.

Master planning sessions for neoliberal global domination, throughout the Clinton years and seamlessly continuing into the Bush administration, were held at the offices of the giant bond trading company Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center (thereby making that building a legitimate military target).

High ranking Pentagon and C.I.A. officials had to regularly schlep up to New York City, where the **real** power was (and still is)... in the offices of global financiers (banksters).

For those strategic global war planning conferences, Thomas P. M. Barnett prepared what he labeled “The Pentagon’s New Map”.

On the Pentagon’s New Map, there are 114 countries in what’s termed the “Non-Integrating Gap” that the neoliberals intend to fully integrate into their “Functioning Core” ... by whatever means necessary.

What kind of country is in that Non-Integrating Gap? Any nation that the United States could bomb or invade with impunity, if it refuses to submit to the terms of the contract offered. There’s currently 100 more still in the queue.

It’s going to take awhile for the Pentagon to get the bugs out of the robotic infantry, to put mass produced brainless and emotionless cyborgs’ boots on the ground. In the interim, the white “progressive” liberals will comfortably sacrifice anyone easily sacrificed.

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By rico, suave, December 22, 2010 at 9:34 am Link to this comment


“The opposition to the Dream Act is fundamentally a White Republican racist response to the rapidly increasing number of hispanic-AMERICANS!”

No it’s not and you know it.

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By surfnow, December 22, 2010 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Excuse me for not feeling sorry for illegal immigrants for not getting yet another free handout from my tax dollars. My family has been in this country for 250 years, has fought in every war including the Spanish- American and literally helped build this nation. And yet my daughter, who graduated 3rd in her class from one of the most prestigious Catholic girls schools in NJ couldn’t get a dime from the state in tuition aid.  The illegal immigration issue is the one that separates real progressives from phony liberals.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 22, 2010 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

The opposition to the Dream Act is fundamentally a White Republican racist response to the rapidly increasing number of hispanic-AMERICANS!

The only good to come out of the blocking of the Dream Act is that more and more Hispanics, many of whom agree with lots of Republican “value issues”, on the MOST important issue Hispanics face, Republicans and some DINOs are hard against them.  This is more than an issue of illegal immigration: It is an issue that has justified a new form of Jim Crow laws, establishing that Americans with brown skin and Central American features aren’t “full” Americans and thus can be subjected to being stopped, searched and detained solely for not being White or Black.

The Dream Act was supposed to be a logical way to sort out those who are here through no fault of their own, but have done well and become EXACTLY the type of citizens we should want, from those whose desirability as immigrants MAY (emphasis on “man”) be less clear.  The young woman cited is actually quite typical of the group that needs an exception but somehow, the word “amnesty” is a 7-letter dirty word.

The Republican party has embraced racism, and that is obvious. No, not the unsubtle racism of the old South, but a new racism, which is race-as-a-marker-of-class, complete with new code words, to replace “crime and welfare” and “unwed mothers”.  Now it’s “urban” to imply street hoodlums vs “nice” (ie white) Middle Americans. “Community organizers” has somehow gone from someone fighting to make things better to a subversive anarchist.

Racism gang.  The country is reeking of it again.

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By Robespierre115, December 22, 2010 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

One aspect of the Dream Act nobody discusses is how it would provide a lot of cannon fodder for the Pentagon. The proposed law offers citizenship if illegals either go to college or JOIN THE ARMY. Jennifer is the exception to the rule, most Hispanics do not go to college, this is an unfortunate social reality, most will choose the military. So it’s surprising the Pentagon hasn’t done more vouching here, if the Dream Act is approved Obama can keep escalating wars for years to come.

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By ardee, December 22, 2010 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

While Jennifer is certainly an exceptional young woman her plight is far from the exception. It is very important to remember, I believe, that these “illegals” are being used as scapegoats and tools. They are human beings and not deserving of the abuse heaped upon them.

Our immigration mechanisms are unwieldy and far too lengthy. Many who come here do so in order to support families and escape economies wrecked, in large part, by the practices of American corporations or the abuses of governments installed and abetted by our foreign policies.

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