For months, Republican Senators have been lining up excuse after excuse in an effort to obstruct a vote on the DREAM Act. But with the 111th Congress drawing to a close, the moment of truth will soon be here. Senators will have to decide if they stand on the side of talented young leaders and the broader Latino community, or with a small but vocal band of nativists and their darker view of America. Here are some of the most popular excuses Republican Senators have been citing as reasons to oppose DREAM, along with the actual facts behind them.
America’s Voice Research on Immigration Reform
During the debate on the DREAM Act in the House of Representatives, Republicans attacking the bill called DREAMers "drug smugglers" and "lawbreakers," warned that they could bring "up to 179 relatives with them" if they were granted legal status, and said, "Let's wake up, America. Your country is being taken from you and being given to somebody else." This fact sheet collects the most offensive and inaccurate statements made by anti-DREAM Republicans during the House debate.
Ever since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he intended to keep his promise and bring DREAM up for a vote in the lame duck session of Congress, Republican senators—caught between their nativist wing and the need to appeal to a broader group of voters in 2012 and beyond--have been looking for excuse after excuse to avoid a vote. Included in this memo is a chart of current Republican senators who have supported the DREAM Act and/or comprehensive immigration reform (including DREAM) in the past.
A number of newspapers in states as diverse as Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Kansas have editorialized in favor of the DREAM Act this year. The DREAM Act is bi-partisan legislation introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D‐IL) and Senator Richard Lugar (R‐IN), and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), that would give eligible young people who were brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to legalize their immigration status and work towards citizenship.
Latino voters delivered in 2010. In 2010, Latinos kept the Senate in Democratic hands and were a key factor in Democratic gubernatorial wins in California, Colorado, and Illinois, as well as a number of House races. In fact, were it not for the "Latino firewall" in the West, Democratic losses would have been much worse. In past wave elections, when one chamber of Congress changes parties, both chambers changed parties.
The 2010 mid-term campaign season is shaping up to be the most vicious, vitriolic election cycle in recent memory. Here's a dozen of the most outrageous candidate claims thus far, plus a couple honorable mentions. Consider this the Immigration Politics 2010 Wall of Shame.
Maribel Hasting's "March to the Polls 2010" series captures the attitude of Hispanic voters in key states. Two years ago, they voted at record levels, and neither Republicans or Democrats should ignore that the Latino vote, without a doubt, could be essential in continuing their own political careers, or creating a nationally-viable party.
In the Voter Guide to the Candidates on Immigration Reform, America's Voice reviews the candidates' positions on immigration in fifty-four competitive races in nineteen states. These include seven gubernatorial, six U.S. Senate, and forty-one U.S. House races in which Latino and immigrant voters could help decide the outcome.