DREAM deferred (but far from lost)

09/22/2010 § Leave a comment

sen. dick durbin w. harry reid going off on the procedural defeat of DREAM Act today in the US senate.  the campaign fell 4 votes short of the magical 60 needed to override republican filibuster.  opponents included democratic senators lincoln and pryor and our boy republican scott brown.

despite the count, i consider the recent escalation a tactical victory.  lets consider that a couple months ago, undocumented DREAM activists were shaking up DC, conducting congressional sit-ins in offices including that of harry reid.  now, you have reid and durbin making this issue personal, and raising the profile of the DREAM act within national media (also tied up in a broader partisan narrative of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’s frustrating defeat).  my only regret is the degree to which the proposal has been stripped down from 3 pathways towards documentation: military service, college, or public service, down to 2: military or college.  the elimination of the public service provision alters the nature of the law towards a more institutionalized poverty draft.   the college option is also less accessible without provisions to allow in-state tuition rates for undocumented students.

nonetheless, i trust and respect the immigrant youth leadership who have driven this campaign for years and who have put themselves on the line to bring resolution to an obvious injustice.  and in fact i agree that the first step could be to carve out some pathways toward documentation for youth, with hopes of then expanding the frame.  we can later look to state level campaigns for in-state tuition, and face the inevitable and highly charged fight for federal comprehensive immigration reform.  while that broader debate is repressed until after elections and into 2011, the DREAM act should still be realized through its vote (and passage) as a stand alone bill.

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