The failure of the DREAM Act will rob America of the contribution of high-achieving immigrants who grew up in this land of opportunity.
The lame-duck session of the 111th Congress was anything but lame, passing significant legislation to end, at last, the military’s senseless and discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and seeing ratification of an important nuclear arms treaty.
Despite unpredicted last-minute successes, though, President Obama couldn’t help lamenting the one that got away: the DREAM Act, which passed in the House but died in the Senate on a procedural vote.
In the absence of reasonable immigration reform, the DREAM Act at least offered a piecemeal fix for dealing fairly with some of the children of illegal immigrants in a way that would serve the interests of the country.
Those children, brought to the U.S. as minors through no choice of their own, would have had a path to citizenship opened to them, provided they had stayed out of trouble, had lived continuously in this country for at least five years, had graduated from an American high school and were willing to serve two years in the military or attend at least two years of college.
In other words, if they were high achievers who had the makings of good citizens of the country of their childhood, the country that is their home and that could benefit greatly from their contributions.
They are Americans in every sense except legal status, and cannot in good conscience be blamed for the illegal action that leaves them without a country they can call their own.
Republicans and a handful of Democrats denied them this dream for fear of offending a portion of the electorate so hostile to undocumented immigrants that reasonable immigration reforms cannot even be debated.
No one exemplifies this craven political cowardice more than Sen. John McCain, once a sponsor of the DREAM Act, who voted against it — according to one friend, because he felt betrayed by Hispanic-American voters who deserted him for Obama in the 2008 presidential race.
If so, McCain validated their choice with an appalling show of ego-driven temper — particularly intemperate since he had done the abandoning. In tacking hard right in pursuit of his party’s nomination, he came out against his own immigration reform bill as well as the DREAM Act during the primary.
Obama called its failure “maybe my biggest disappointment,” and promised to pursue broader immigration reform in the next Congress.
With a Republican majority in the House and a stronger GOP presence in the Senate, both eager to deny him a second term, Obama’s optimism sounds wishful. But he has shown that hope for good governance is not always in vain.
Thanks to Big Dog for bringing this editorial to our attention.
This piece pretty much sums up the feelings of the administration of this blog. What a waste of American resources, just to get politically ‘even.’ Kids who have overcome all odds–the odds of living in poverty, of overcoming language barriers, of coming from a home often plagued by illiteracy–have somehow managed to be successful in school. Any one of those draw backs reduce the chances of a kid being successful academically. These children of illegal immigrants, , who by some miraculous fate have managed to do what many American as apple pie kids fail to do–graduate at the top of their class have once again been kicked in the teeth.
These kids are surivors however. The very fact that there is a Dream Act says they are a cut above. The real loser in all this will be America. Every day one of these kids isn’t attending an American college or serving in our military is a day where we have squandered an investment already bought and paid for by the American taxpayers.