Post-Partisan The Dream Act affects more than Latinos

I thought that many should read this article to help us understand the illogical thinking of so many Republicans when it comes to immigration. Also to understand that immigration affects all of us, immigrant, or non-immigrant.

The following piece by  Edward Schumacher-Matos Washington Post (December 12, 2010) is offered to you. Thanks to Angelo Falcon and the ILP who is constantly feeding us these articles for us to share.

If Senate Republicans kill the Dream Act, I and many millions of Hispanics will take it as a slap in the face. The legislation is so clearly in the country’s interest that its rejection essentially means: You don’t want me here. You fear that the country is being overrun by Latinos and that, almost as bad, we will vote Democrat. Senate Republicans can obfuscate, but arguments about costs and laws are so flimsy when it comes to the House-approved Dream Act that if they block it this week, as seems likely, they will be joining with those nativists and haters who regularly tell me and other Latinos to leave America.

To some this may sound emotional, but what has been missing in the debates over immigration and the Dream Act has been just that: someone to make the emotion of 50 million Latinos heard on one of the few issues that we care about as a people. Hispanics lack a national leader. We have no Martin Luther King Jr. or Jesse Jackson, no go-to person for politicians and the media, no one to rise above the dry statistics or small ball of advocacy groups to shape a message and voice what’s in our hearts. What that Latino heart says is that we, too, are American. We, too, believe in the American creed, the rule of law, the righteousness of the work ethic, the exceptionalism of American history and the justice of American democracy. We, too, agree that the nation needs to enforce its borders and immigration laws and that there is a limit to how many immigrants any nation can accept without causing too much social and cultural disruption.

This country may be near that limit. If so, then we all need to work together to integrate and assimilate the immigrants here and adjust the system for how many more come in. Nearly 11 million of the immigrants in America are here illegally. Most of the adults have been here for years, live in families and have contributed to U.S. vitality through the sweat on their brow and the pains in their back from working far more than 40 hours a week. As cheap, mobile labor, they are helping to resurrect the economy from its deep recession. But putting aside for now what to do with the adults, let’s focus on the children, who didn’t choose to come. The Dream Act offers a path to citizenship for those who arrived before they were 16, get a high school degree and complete two years of college or join the military.

Perhaps a million might take advantage. They are badly needed to buck up our depleted military ranks and stressed taxpayer rolls. They can boost our global competitiveness. That is why the Pentagon and the Chamber of Commerce helped write the act. If Republicans keep pushing to deport these young people — our children — then something deeper and uglier is behind their Orwellian logic that the country would be rewarding law-breakers or strapping our colleges. That something is that you don’t want us here, with our tacos and salsa music, our family fiestas and telenovelas, even though we are assimilating rapidly, speaking English and pledging allegiance to the flag. I myself made all-state in football, volunteered for the Army and served in Vietnam.

I have written recently about how Latino immigrants are socially conservative and natural Republicans, how Latinos are united on immigration, and how the GOP is committing demographic suicide by driving away these voters. Latinos are an estimated 16 percent of the population and 9 percent of U.S. voters. Why shouldn’t something that we take personally be given consideration? The rest of the nation need not agree, and that’s fine. But in a case where we and the country are so obviously being hurt, it seems an intentional insult. It should not come to this.