Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), whose extremist ties and past attacks on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor have stamped him as a leading anti-Latino lawmaker, is adding to his anti-immigrant legacy by couching his opposition to the DREAM Act with fear-mongering about immigrants and crime and falsehoods about the DREAM Act.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Jeff Sessions is blowing the dog whistle of demagoguery to rally opposition to the DREAM Act. He and his staff are trying to paint young immigrant kids – who grew up in America, did everything asked of them, and want the chance to go to college or serve in the military – as criminals and a drain on society. This is factually inaccurate and morally reprehensible. This type of attack didn’t work for Sharron Angle in Nevada in 2010 and it won’t work for the Republican Party in 2012 or long-term.”
In a white paper circulated by his office and currently reverberating around the conservative echo chamber, Sessions mixes anti-immigrant fear-mongering (“criminal aliens”) with factually inaccurate assertions about the legislation and its implications. As Session’s spokesman Stephen Miller told Fox News, “The scope of this proposal is enormous, extending amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants including a number who have committed serious crimes, incentivizing further illegality.” In truth, the DREAM Act is a narrowly-tailored and traditionally bipartisan piece of legislation that ensures that only those with strong moral character qualify. As such, it would strengthen the military, bolster future economic competitiveness, and offer American taxpayers a return on their investment in hard-working immigrant kids who want to give back to the nation they love and call home.
There is a wide gulf between extremists like Sessions and sensible Americans who recognize the importance of DREAM. One of the leading national Latino figures, Univisión host Jorge Ramos, yesterday announced the creation of a $20,000 scholarship fund for DREAM Act eligible students with funds out of his own pocket. Said Ramos,”Through my work, I’ve been in touch with a lot of undocumented students who can’t go to college and I think it’s the worst cruelty in the American educational system that it allows them to go to high school but not to college. I wish I could help the two million students who are undocumented in this country and can’t get help from Congress. I can’t do that, but at least I can touch the lives of four of them.”
Said Sharry, “The contrast could not be more stark. The same day that Jorge Ramos generously helps young people who want to enroll in college, Jeff Sessions cruelly tars them as criminals.”
Other champions, people like Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) get it – the DREAM Act is a sensible bipartisan bill that has the broad support of the American people and should be enacted for the benefit of all of Americans.
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.