Dream Act Rejected by US Senate: What is Next? Dreamers Movement Continues
The DREAM ACT bill was rejected this morning by the U.S. Senate. The hopes of millions of undocumented Americans have been put on hold, but the struggle continues.
Today, we saw how a conservative all-White Senate blocked temporarily the dreams of young, brave, educated and driven leaders who most likely will replace them one day in Congress. You can bet on it.
Dreamers in Los Angeles today react to the U.S. Senate vote. Photo AP
What happened today is a sign of the times we live in the United States, as education and work opportunities for the youth are not a priority for the failed leadership of this country. While tax cuts for the rich, a manipulated health care reform, unjustified wars and bailouts for Wall Street are more important.
Instead of supporting these children, 41 Senators voted against the Dream Act, while 55 supported the bill, 4 were absent (!). Today we heard a lousy debate in the Senate about the Dream Act (read the bill here) which focused mostly on racism, xenophobia, and the defense of obsolete laws which are not helping solve the immigration crisis.
What is next?
The Dreamers movement must continue. These young Americans have no other choice than to keep fighting for their lives. Perhaps some might want to give up, resulting in sad situations to come. But most of them will keep working hard, because we need this.
We need these young leaders to continue showing the same courage, consistence and character.
To the Dreamers here are some advice that come to mind:
Learn who your enemies are, this is not about political parties only. These are the
5 SIX Democrats who voted NO today: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Jon Tester of Montana, Max Baucus of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Not a coincidence, those Senators are from States with small numbers of Latino voters, except Florida which has a lot of Cuban American voters. The Republican Senators who supported the bill were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska (!), Bob Bennett of Utah, and Richard Lugar of Indiana.
Continue contacting the White House, so that president Barack Obama can enact Executive orders that can prevent deportations of Dreamers, and it can provide with work authorizations to those who have finished high school. It’s a temporary step that could be overturned by a next President, but it will help a lot.
Also, you may be able to lobby for a Temporary Protection Status program, similar to those given to immigrants from countries facing extraordinary harsh circunstances.
Keep organizing, educating your friends and communities, spread the word. Now is the time to get better on what you are doing. Next Congress starts in January 2011 and they will have more Conservative and anti-immigrant legislators. But they need to hear from you.
Work locally and push for State-versions of the Dream Act, or similar provitions that can assure you an education and work permits. This can help at least for certain periods of time, until the Dream Act returns to Congress, which will happen perhaps after the 2012 elections.
Think 2012. It’s a general election year and you must get involved. Many of you are already working on regularizing your immigration status, and most of you have relatives and friends who can vote. Ask them to vote for you, since you cannot yet. Ask them to support candidates who care about your cause. Encourage young citizens -especially Brown youth- to register to vote.
Be aware, the failure of the DREAM Act it is in fact about racism, xenophobia, corruption. You need to speak out and be vocal about this. Don’t trust the soft-spoken political leaders who deny this. The Dreamers movement should denounce those who keep promising -especially the conservative Latino Congress members- when they don’t mean it.
Stop begging. You have been denied citizenship because the old farts in the Senate see this: most of you are not White, you are trying to be educated reformers, and mostly because you are not rich enough to buy their votes.
Understand that we need you, this country needs you. We don’t have enough strong so-called Latino leaders, with a very few exceptions. Where were they today? The Dreamers need to shape the leadership that we lack today.
We need leaders like you, especially among our Indigenous communities or Latinos. The undocumented communities in the United States will need you because tough times are ahead. We need organizers, activists, that can continue changing the political map of this nation. We need your skills to resist the anti-migrant actions promoted by the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress.
One day in the near future the U.S. Congress must reflect the new faces of America, not only racially but in ideals and convictions. Prepare yourself to get there.
Today you can cry all you want, be angry and protest if you need to. Tomorrow you need to get up, clean your mind of any sense of defeat and get going. Life is about challenges, and I want you to know that your work has already moved the politics of this country.
Be strong and aware. Your parents’ effort was not in vain, your generation is leaving a legacy for the future, your Dreams are still alive, your movement is young and strong. We will fight with you.