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Roundup: Former IL Governor Edgar, WSJ, WaPo, and DREAM Act Stories From CA to TX

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Did you slip into a turkey coma last week? This should get you up to speed, with a vote on the DREAM Act rapidly approaching.

Prominent conservative voices are increasingly speaking up for the DREAM Act, even as the popular measure continues to weather attacks by certain hardline Senators. This new drumbeat of conservative voices further demonstrates the DREAM Act’s bipartisan nature and its importance for future U.S. competitiveness. 

As we mentioned this morning, former Illinois Republican Governor Jim Edgar voiced his support for DREAM in an op-ed in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, writing:

“A rational approach to comprehensive immigration reform should begin with the young people who were brought here as babies, toddlers and adolescents…A nation as kind as ours should not turn its back on them. Congress needs to support the sensible, humane approach embodied in legislation known as the Dream Act.  The measure charts a rigorous path that undocumented youths must negotiate to gain legal status and qualify for citizenship, and supporting it would be both good government and good politics.”

In fact, the DREAM Act would be a boon to future U.S. educational progress and economic competitiveness – a point underscored by the legislation’s strong support from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez, both of whom were on a press call today that featured conservative leaders who highlighted the DREAM Act’s moral urgency.  In addition to Secretary Duncan and former Secretary Gutierrez, speakers included Carlos Campo, President of Regent University; Rev. Troy Jackson, Senior Pastor, University Christian Church, Cincinnati, OH; and Juan Hernandez, the founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

The Wall Street Journal published an editorial that argues:

Restrictionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards people who entered the country illegally. But the bill targets individuals brought here by their parents as children. What is to be gained by holding otherwise law-abiding young people, who had no say in coming to this country, responsible for the illegal actions of others?  The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded.

The editorial also took on the argument espoused by Lamar Smith that Republicans do not have a Latino voter problem due to their hardline immigration stance.  In contrast, their editorial noted the political necessity of the Republicans supporting DREAM, stating:

If Republicans hope to limit President Obama to one term, they’ll need to win in Mountain West states Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico with fast-growing Hispanic populations. The Dream Act is an opportunity for the GOP to send a welcoming signal to these voters.  More important, it would do right by undocumented youths who did nothing to deserve their current vulnerability to deportation.

The front page of the LA Times featured UCLA’s tenacious drum major, David Cho (pictured above), who recently went public with his status as an undocumented immigrant in order to spread awareness about the situation youth like himself face. The piece begins:

The student body president at Cal State Fresno. The drum major at UCLA. Student senators, class presidents, team captains and club officers at community colleges.

Scores of student leaders across California are illegal immigrants who came to this state as children.

With Congress expected to vote as early as this week on immigration reform that would give these students a pathway to legal status, a new generation of scholars who were raised in California but not born here are shedding their secrecy and speaking about their lives.

They have a sense of urgency. If the bill, known as the Dream Act, does not pass before a more conservative Congress takes power in January, it is unlikely to pass for years to come.

“At first my parents said, ‘What are you doing? You’re risking so much,’ ” said David Cho, the UCLA drum major. “But I told them, ‘It’s not only me. There are thousands of students like me trapped in a broken system. Unless our generation speaks out, the politicians won’t tackle it. They have to see our faces.’ “

The Washington Post tells the story of DREAM-eligible youth who spent Thanksgiving sharing their stories with families in their areas:

Anngie Gutierrez knows how bodies decompose. She can deduce from a skeleton whether the person who died was a man or a woman. In her high school forensics biology class, she has learned to determine time and cause of death.

The 17-year-old Bladensburg High School junior readily admits her siblings do not share her taste for decomposition: “I am the weird one in the family.”

Gutierrez wants to become a medical examiner or a forensic investigator, like the investigators she loves to watch on “CSI.” But unlike her two brothers and her sister who were born in the United States, she was born in Guatemala – and is undocumented. […]