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In 2012, The DREAM Act Will Be a Major Electoral Issue in the Latino Community

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dream actAs I was coming off the plane from Indiana this weekend, a Latina flight attended tabbed my “I support the DREAM Act” pin and said “me too.”   Two years ago, I would have been surprised that someone I didn’t know would recognize my DREAM Act pin and express their support.  However, last year changed everything!  Last year was a defining moment for Latinos all across the US.  Although, like many other American’s the issues of jobs and the economy were on the top of Latino’s list of priorities, immigration is a defining issue.

In November, I saw first-hand how Harry Reid won his re-election in Nevada.  As I knocked on doors encouraging people to go out to vote, I witnessed Latinos families going together to the polls in unprecedented numbers. I remember one man telling me, he had voted early because he wanted to make sure, Sharron Angle didn’t win, “that lady is against us” he affirmed.

The DREAM Act and the term DREAMers became daily household topics of discussion.  With actions like the Trail of DREAMs , a walk from Miami to DC, sit-ins in Arizona Republican Senator McCain’s office, to a hunger strike outside New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, all brought much attention to an issue the Latino community knew and care about for many years.

December 18, 2010, was a very defining moment in the minds of immigrant youth and the Latino community.  Saturday programming from the two largest Spanish-speaking channels were interrupted to provide live coverage of the DREAM Act vote.  The eyes of the Latino community witnessed how each Senator voted on the hopes and future of millions of immigrant undocumented Americans, the majority of which happen to be Latino.