Why Democrats Support the DREAM Act

Following upon President Obama’s immigration speech in El Paso on Tuesday, Senate Democrats will re-introduce the DREAM Act (in full, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), which would give undocumented young people a path to citizenship if they go to college or serve in the military. The bill passed the House in December but met obstruction in the Senate, where, of course, Republicans will again do their utmost to block it.

So what’s the point? Well, it’s the politics, not the policy (although the policy is good), and it’s all about the Latino vote and its possible inclusion in a long-term Democratic majority.

In this case, it isn’t just that the DREAM Act is broadly popular, or that the military supports it, it’s that Latinos (or Hispanics, as the two terms are generally used interchangeably), perhaps the key emerging demographic group in the U.S., see it as essential.

Back in December, Janet MurguĂ­a, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, wrote that the House vote was “defining,” meaning that it would be remembered. And what will be remembered is that Democrats supported the legislation and Republicans opposed it.

For more on this, and specifically on how Democrats and Republicans stand in stark contrast to one another on immigration, see my post from last December.

11 Comments

  1. Honorable service in the military should lead to nationalization…period.

  2. Leaving the “the politics…all about the Latino vote and its possible inclusion in a long-term Democratic majority” out, I agree with Shannon Lee that those who have served our country honorably—especially in combat—should be eligible for U.S. citizenship.

    One of those “Latinos or Hispanics” who was proud to receive his U.S. citizenship after three years of honorable military service.

  3. It means more Democrats — that’s why the DREAM Act and other Democratic immigration “reform” legislation is sought by Dems.

    * * *

    Yes, those who served or serve in the military deserve their U.S. citizenship when it’s time to re-enlist. Illegally here? The armed forces should have checked (ignore any PC) before enlisting them.

  4. You are right on Shannon Leee. I served in the US Air Force and in basic training I bunked right next to a guy who’s parents had escaped the Soviet Bloc back in the day, they came to this country and raised his family. We had other guys as well from other parts of the globe serving in the US military. They came to our country for a better life. I would say that if you are willing to give military service to this country, then you should be granted citizenship!

  5. Enrollment in military service is largely an act of service to country. Enrollment in JuCo is largely an act of service to self.

    When you stop trying to sandbag the discerning amongst us, you will get a better legislative result.

  6. casual — What’s JuCo? Excuse my ignorance. Who’s being sandbagged by whom?

  7. I loathe the DREAM Act, because of the college provision. I have no qualms about giving citizenship to those who enlist. That is an act of service to country. But I do wonder why we should give citizenship to people who simply go to college. If the DREAM Act is amended to remove the college provision, then I will support it. However, until that provision is, it should never see the light of day.

  8. PJB — The idea is that people who are educated overwhelmingly contribute to the educated work force, become good consumers as the earn money in their jobs, as well as pay taxes. They are unlikely to engage in petty or violent crime, outside of domestic abuse (which we as a society don’t pay much attention to anyway.) We as a society should want educated people to be here, work here, and pay taxes here, even if they weren’t born here. At least that’s the rationale.

  9. Enrolling in college does not mean that you are educated. Completing a substantial degree with a high GPA might indicate this. If someone enrolls in a community college class in order to fulfill some Dream Act requirement for applying for citizenship, it proves nothing. I’d be in favor of making it easier for non-criminal foreign nationals that put themselves through college and earned a useful degree with a high GPA to apply for citizenship. Foreign-born GIs who have completed an enlistment with honorable conduct throughout should definitely be eligible. I’d expedite it further if the GI served in combat. For what it is worth, I’m an American-born Mexican-American who served in the Air Force, whose grandparents immigrated legally.

  10. Junior College. The sandbagging is to pretend the Rs are discounting the military enlistment route while slipping in an amnesty for enrolling in a class. As always, if you believe going to school is an adequate contribution, communicate your support to your Congressional representatives. I have already discussed it with mine.

  11. The Problem is:
    How do you tell a twenty year old who came to the US at the age of three from Guatemala and has never been there since to to go back to Guatemala?

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