Republicans Display Breathtaking Hypocrisy in Opposition to DREAM Act
Washington, DC – Political hypocrisy is in full bloom in Washington as Republicans try to hide behind a facade of excuses, misinformation, and just-plain-hypocritical statements in opposition to the bi-partisan DREAM Act.
- Rep. Steve King (R-IA) came out in strong opposition to the DREAM Act, stating that, “Democrats legislate by anecdote and emotion. It’s up to people like me to…weigh in on justice and equity and long-term good judgment.” Say what? King is caricature of a radical right-winger on immigration. He has advocated for electrified fencing on the border (“we do that with livestock all the time”), believes in a “sixth sense” when it comes to telling which immigrants are in the country without papers, and has suggested that Obama be impeached for not enforcing immigration laws despite the fact that Obama’s DHS has carried out a record number of deportations.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the DREAM amendment “extraneous” and said it has “nothing to do” with the military. Perhaps Senator McConnell should tell that to the thousands of immigrant youth who grew up in America, eager to serve in our nation’s armed forces, only to be thwarted by the fact that they lack immigration documents and can’t enlist. Or to the Department of Defense, which included DREAM in its FY2010-12 Strategic Plan because it would help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.” Or to Louis Caldera, former Director of the White House Military Office and United States Secretary of the Army; Margaret Stock (Ret.), Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Police Corps, U.S. Army Reserve and former law professor at U.S. Military Academy (West Point); and Major General Alfred Valenzuela (Ret.), the highest-ranking active-duty Latino officer before he retired in 2004, each of whom joined a press call today to talk about how the DREAM Act will benefit the U.S. military.
- Senator David Vitter (R-LA) claimed that DREAM was an “amnesty measure” that would “reward bad behavior.” Vitter, who knows something about bad behavior and the need for amnesty, has the DREAM Act all wrong. It’s not an amnesty but a rigorous process by which those eligible have to meet stringent behavioral, educational and military service requirements to earn legal status. And it’s not about bad behavior, it’s about a way forward for those who arrived in America as young children and did everything that was asked of them, only to find out that their lack of legal status keeps them from contributing to the only country they’ve ever known. Perhaps Senator Vitter should read up on recent policy studies assessing the impact of DREAM.
- Orrin Hatch (R-UT), an original co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, is now saying he will vote against it. His excuse? Timing and procedures. He stated this week that action on DREAM was “holding our troops hostage by cynically pushing a defense bill chock-full of controversial measures to score cheap political points with its liberal base.” But just a few weeks ago, this is what Senator Hatch said about the DREAM Act, “If they’ve lived good lives, if they’ve done good things, why would we penalize them and not let them at least go to school?” Nearly one million young people who are Americans in all but paperwork are counting on Senator Hatch, but he’s more concerned about timing and procedures than voting for a bill he helped to author.
- Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who up until this Congress was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, attacked Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) for bringing DREAM forward, saying, “it’s really his effort to get re-elected.” He added that DREAM was “totally unrelated to national defense.” Senator Reid is a long-time champion of DREAM Act and hasn’t changed positions. The same cannot be said about Senator McCain, who became an immigration hawk just in time for his primary race against J.D. Hayworth.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “If the stakes weren’t so high, these Republican statements would be laughable. Steve King saying he’s the voice of justice, equity and good judgment? David Vitter saying we should not reward bad behavior? Mitch McConnell saying that a bill designed to improve and enhance military recruitment is not relevant to a defense bill? Orrin Hatch saying he was for the bill before he was against the bill? John McCain accusing others of playing politics with immigration? No wonder Americans are fed up with politicians who will do and say anything to get to no. Let us hope that other Republicans will stop looking for excuses and start looking for a way to enact what has traditionally been a bipartisan bill.”
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