Vote for Talented Immigrant Youth, Or Further Alienate Latino Voters
Washington, DC – America’s Voice, Center for American Progress Action Fund and the American Immigration Lawyers Association released the first in a series of ads today in Roll Call urging Senate Republicans to do the right thing and vote for the DREAM Act. Today’s ad juxtaposes the story of Cesar Vargas, a DREAM-eligible law student who calls himself “a typical American kid who grew up in Brooklyn and roots for the Yankees,” and “dreams of becoming a J.A.G. officer to defend the country I love,” with accusations from DREAM Act opponents in the House who have called people like Cesar “drug smugglers,” “lawbreakers,” and worse.
In addition to the ad, America’s Voice released a top ten list of the ugliest GOP quotes from the recent House debate, and warnings from leading political analysts who predict that opposing the DREAM Act could have long-term political consequences for the Republican Party. The upcoming Senate DREAM Act vote is becoming a defining moment for the GOP, and Latino voters across the country are waiting to see how Republican Senators will vote on the futures of young Latino leaders.
“House Republicans tried to make this an issue of ‘Right versus Left’. But this is really an issue of ‘right versus wrong’. Senate Republicans should join with their eight courageous colleagues in the House and stand for what is right. No more excuses, no more games – just do the right thing,” said Angela Kelley, Vice President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
“We know of many Republicans who know better than the ugly rhetoric of the House debate – some showed themselves in the House and voted for DREAM,” said David Leopold, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “It is time for their Senate colleagues to do the same.”
The DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill supported by voters across party lines that would bolster Americas’ economy and strengthen the military. It allows young people who are American in every way but their citizenship to legalize their status so that they can go to college or serve in the military.
Fifteen current Republican senators have voted for the DREAM Act on its own or as part of comprehensive immigration reform over the past seven years. The bill was originally drafted by conservative Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), along with current champion Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). Currently, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) have already indicated that they plan to support the DREAM Act, and a majority of Democrats are on record supporting the bill. Last week, the House passed its version of the legislation with support from eight Republicans. The only thing standing in the way of the DREAM Act becoming law is a handful of Republican votes in the Senate.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice said, “This is not a case of ‘Us versus Them.’ They are us and they are as American as we are. When you look in their eyes, you see their dreams and wonder how anyone could turn against our future scientists, engineers, teachers, and military leaders. The vehement opposition to the DREAM Act youth by many Republicans is only further alienating the party from Latino voters – Senate Republicans have an opportunity to turn the tide.”
Fact Sheet: The Ugly Face of the DREAM Act Debate – Top 10 GOP Quotes: http://americasvoiceonline.org/UglyQuotes
Fact Sheet: The Real Politics of the DREAM for the GOP: http://americasvoiceonline.org/GOPandDream