AMERICA'S VOICE RESEARCH ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

Conservative Quotes on the Politics of the DREAM Act

Published: 10/06/2011

October 2011 |

David Chu, Bush Administration Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, said in Congressional testimony on July 10, 2006, “If their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, most of these young people have no mechanism to obtain legal residency even if they have lived most of their lives here. Yet many of these young people may wish to join the military, and have the attributes needed ‐ education, aptitude, fitness, and moral qualifications.”

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and Republican presidential candidate,said in an NPR interview on August 11, 2010, “When a kid comes to his country, and he’s four years old and he had no choice in it — his parents came illegally. He still, because he is in this state, it’s the state’s responsibility – in fact, it is the state’s legal mandate – to make sure that child is in school. So let’s say that kid goes to school. That kid is in our school from kindergarten through the 12th grade. He graduates as valedictorian because he’s a smart kid and he works his rear end off and he becomes the valedictorian of the school. The question is: Is he better off going to college and becoming a neurosurgeon or a banker or whatever he might become, and becoming a taxpayer, and in the process having to apply for and achieve citizenship, or should we make him pick tomatoes? I think it’s better if he goes to college and becomes a citizen.”

General Colin Powell, former Bush Administration Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffsaid on NBC’s Meet the Press on September 19, 2010, “Our minorities are not getting educated well enough now. Fifty percent of our minority kids are not finishing high school. We’ve got to invest in education. We should use the Dream Act as one way to do it.”

Juan Hernandez, founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, released a statement on September 20, 2010 saying, “We believe that if politics are put aside, the DREAM Act could be a first step toward a comprehensive immigration bill, and one that will only benefit our nation. Although as a coalition, our overall goal is to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, we support the DREAMers. These young immigrant students were raised in America, educated in America and think of themselves as Americans. They did not make the decision to come here without documents. Our nation has already invested taxpayer dollars in their education and training and the DREAM Act will ensure that America will reap the benefits of those investments. America needs and every American should want their talent and skills.”

Florida Republican Senator George LeMieux said in a floor statement on September 21, 2010, “Many in my State support the DREAM Act. It is a very difficult situation for kids who were brought to this country by their parents, through no fault of their own, have gone through public school, now go to a university and may not have the chance to stay and work in this country. I understand and I am sympathetic to that.”

Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett said in a floor statement on September 21, 2010, “I happen to be one–perhaps a minority on my side of the aisle–who is in favor of the DREAM Act. I want to be one who will vote for the DREAM Act.”

Former Republican Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrezsaid, on November 29, 2010, it would be a “shame” not to pass the [DREAM Act] in the lame duck. “We’re very clear this is not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, and we should not allow it to become a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Gutierrez, who served under President George W. Bush. “This needs to be positioned as a first step in a comprehensive solution and not a substitute for a comprehensive solution.”

Jeb Bush, former Republican Governor of Floridasaid at a press conference on November 30, 2010, “I have sympathy for the high school class president from Coral Gables High School — it could be any high school in Miami — that is through no fault of their own maybe here for close to their entire life and are put in this dilemma. Shame on the federal government for allowing that to happen.”

Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of RepresentativestoldLaura Ingraham on December 6, 2010, “I think that it’s legitimate to say, if you’re willing to risk your life for two or three years, serving to protect the United States, we will be willing to consider you for citizenship.”

Michael Gerson, former Bush Administration speechwriter and conservative columnist for the Washington Post wrote on December 6, 2010, ““Whatever its legislative fate, the Dream Act is effective at stripping away pretense. Opponents of this law don’t want earned citizenship for any illegal immigrant – even those personally guilty of no crime, even those who demonstrate their skills and character….They have no intention of sharing the honor of citizenship with anyone called illegal – even those who came as children, have grown up as neighbors and would be willing to give their lives in the nation’s cause.  During the current lame-duck session of Congress, Republicans have been correct to emphasize economic concerns, which the public prioritized in the recent election. But supporting the Dream Act would send a useful message – that some Republicans in victory are capable of governing for the sake of everyone.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, noted on December 10, 2010 that DREAM, “because of its commitment to education and personal responsibility through academic enrichment and military service, is quite possibly the most pro-family, traditional, pro-military, pro-self-reliance piece of legislation in years.  Republicans should rise as the staunchest supporters of a policy proposal that incorporates the most fundamental components the Conservative credo.  For that matter, opposition to the DREAM Act must be interpreted as both politically naïve and morally irreconcilable with any pro-family agenda.”

Stephen A. NuñoPhD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona Universitysaid on December 10, 2010, “It is said that the Dream Act is an abomination of the law, that it rewards illegal behavior and that it encourages more people to come here nefariously.  Yet, these arguments are inconsistent with conservativism because they ignore the convention of human migration, the nature of humans seeking a better life for themselves, and most importantly, it is a contradiction to persist in maintaining a society of citizens stuck in the shadows of society… We must work to integrate these people into society so they can be productive members of this great country from outside of the shadows.  These people have worked in the face of great obstacles to be good citizens, to get an education and they only seek a chance to further their contribution.”

Linda Chavez, Reagan Administration official and conservative political commentator,wrote in an Op-Ed on December 12, 2010, “Do Republicans really want to tell young people who have lived here most of their lives, who may speak no other language but English, and who are even willing to sacrifice themselves on the battlefield for the protection of all Americans: ‘We don’t want you’?… The refusal of all but a tiny handful of Republicans to vote for the Dream Act will become a future nightmare. Hard-line anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric already has cost Republicans at least two U.S. Senate seats, Nevada and Colorado, even in a GOP landslide election.”

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