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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Want Money For Defense? Pass The DREAM Act.

By Silvia Uribe

It is time to start talking about Immigration again. Like I predicted sometime ago, it looks like President Obama will try to pass an Immigration Reform before 2011 is over. If there’s one thing that Obama doesn’t need or want is to face this issue right before midterm elections. In reality, passing a reform next year, will gain him the points he needs to win the reelection in 2012.

By the same token, Obama’s already drained image, and lack of character will make it almost an impossible task, counting necessarily, on the stubbornness of the Republicans in the Senate.

Our appetite for a much needed Immigration Reform increased this week when we had the Dream Act delivered as an appetizer. On Tuesday, Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader announced that he will place the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act), inside a defense funding bill set to go before the Senate next week.

Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6 year conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service. The DREAM Act has bipartisan support, and we need the vote of 60 senators to pass the bill.

We, of course, need to take into consideration that these young people are here illegally through no fault of their own. Their parents brought them when they were minors, and they have grown up, and learned to love this country, their country. It is these same youth that we’ve encouraged to apply themselves, study, become better persons, and better citizens. When they are ready to do just that, Republicans like John McCain, want to take the rug from under their feet by loudly opposing the Dream Act. With this move, Reid is basically forcing the Senate to pass the Dream Act in order for funds to be allocated for defense purposes.

He must be of the same opinion as the great politician and educator Edward Everett who once said “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” On the other hand, misleading politicians like McCain prefer not to have the people of our country well educated in order to manipulate them at their will.

Some others, within the GOP also expressed their disapproval. They don’t want to start the conversations on immigration, and much less on anything that has to do with what they mischievously call an amnesty.

President Obama acknowledged that the Immigration Reform in general and the Dream Act in particular has enemies, but sent a clear message to Latinos when he recently said "don't forget who is standing with you, and who is standing against you. Don't ever believe that this election coming up doesn't matter. ... Don't forget who your friends are." Obama also said “I’m not walking away from this fight...”

However, what’s most important is that Latinos cannot sit back and do nothing. We need to vote, and be politically active. We have power in numbers. Why let others decide? We need to learn how to fight for a common purpose, one that will take us all ahead. We need to unite, and look for the benefit of our children, and for their right to live legally and peacefully in the country we call ours: the United States.

We seem to only be 5 votes away from the 60 votes needed to pass this bill. We can do it if we all help.

CALL TO ACTION: To support students' dreams in five minutes by making just two phone calls. Please ask Senators Hatch and Bennett from Utah to support the DREAM ACT. To reach them, please call the Capitol Switchboard at 1-888-254-5087. If this number is busy, please call 1-202-224-3121. Please consider asking five people you know to join you in making calls.

For information on who to call and for a script to make your call click

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