DREAMers, Not Criminals v. Renegades, Not Citizens
In the past two weeks, the Democrats and the Republicans held their conventions and you could not have asked for a more night-and-day difference between the two regarding the future of the many undocumented youths, the DREAMers.
They revealed two different visions of America: the Republicans, who have no plan of enacting the DREAM Act and who would rather see all the young undocumented individuals who came to the United States when they were very young and have known no other country but this one deport themselves, and the Democrats, who believe that it is the moral and ethical imperative of this country to enact the DREAM Act and allow these young men and women to come out of the shadows and become productive members of our society.
The Democratic platform supports “enacting comprehensive immigration reform,” that includes the requirement that illegal immigrants must learn English and pay taxes. The Republican platform opposes any kind of amnesty for illegal immigrants because it supposedly encourages more law breaking. In addition, the Republicans believe that undocumented residents deprive American citizens and legal permanent residents of jobs. The GOP’s platform also advocates support for controversial laws passed in states, such as Arizona and Alabama, designed to reduce illegal immigration. Therefore, there should be no surprise that such beliefs have made many Latinos turn away from the Republican party.
The DNC went a step further and included the DREAM Act activist Benita Veliz as a speaker at their convention. What made this an exceptional act was the fact Ms. Veliz is the first undocumented immigrant to speak in any political convention.
On Wednesday night, September 5th, Veliz said:
“My name is Benita Veliz, and I’m from San Antonio, Texas. Like so many Americans of all races and backgrounds, I was brought here as a child. I’ve been here ever since.
I graduated as valedictorian of my class at the age of 16 and earned a double major at the age of 20. I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country. I feel just as American as any of my friends or neighbors.
But I’ve had to live almost my entire life knowing I could be deported just because of the way I came here.
President Obama fought for the DREAM Act to help people like me. And when Congress refused to pass it, he didn’t give up. Instead, he took action so that people like me can apply to stay in our country and contribute. We will keep fighting for reform, but while we do, we are able to work, study and pursue the American dream.
President Obama has fought for my community…”
Many activists are not fully happy with the Obama administration due to his failure to enact the DREAM Act. However, the recent implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program has made the Democratic Party and President Obama the only choice for true immigration reform. And with the rising numbers of Hispanics eligible to vote in the United States the Democratic Party should be the recipients of a large portion of votes from that population.
“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side…” – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.