President Obama announced he has directed Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to stop deporting young people who would qualify for the long-awaited DREAM Act. The DREAM Act in its federal version would grant a pathway to citizenship under the stipulation that undocumented children attend a university or serve in the military. The DREAM Act had always been a bi-partisan bill, but those were in the good ol’ days when our government still functioned. In 2010 the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives, and despite having a majority of votes in the Senate, it failed to garner the 60 votes necessary for a cloture resolution, with with five Democrats voting against it. To say that Harry Reid and Obama failed is an understatement.
What Obama did this week is a small step towards giving DREAMers the ability to live fulfilling lives. Millions of young students are living in the shadows. They are not criminals; they are our neighbors, colleagues, and friends. Most came to the United States at a very young age and this country is all they know. They are as American as anyone else because to be an American is more than having a green card. It is to share the values written in the Declaration of Independence. It is to believe that all men are created equal regardless of race, creed, or nationality. These young people are Americans despite lacking the acknowledgement of our government.
The Republican response has been comical. Romney is dodging the question by walking a very fine line. This Face The Nation interview with Bob Schieffer shows exactly that. Romney understands he needs to court Latino votes but also has to play to his base. Which path will he choose? It is still unclear and his answers are exceptionally ambiguous. In the primaries he said he would veto the DREAM Act, but now supports Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s proposal. Maybe Romney is schizophrenic; let’s just hope the American people don’t forget this too soon. The Republican Party needs to realize that it's on the wrong side of this battle. If it continues to fight against the DREAM Act it will lose those in the party who in the past have supported it. It’s unfortunate that Senator John McCain voted against the DREAM Act in 2010 after being a long time supporter. This is simply another example of the dysfunction occurring within their party.
DREAMers must forge a coalition with the remaining republicans and democrats who have in the past supported the DREAM Act. Obama’s executive order should not be the end goal of any DREAMer. It is simply a band-aid. With this in mind dreamers must continue their work educating the public at large on their stories. Americans are ignorant to the lives and experiences of Dreamers. Obama, however must do more; he needs to stop blaming congress and act. All hope appears lost considering the house is controlled by raging lunatics but if he can somehow work out a compromise with Marco Rubio then maybe even Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will get on board. Well, maybe not Michele.