The DREAM Act Is Still Alive, And It's Making Right-wingers Nervous

There have been all kinds of obituaries already written for the DREAM Act -- most recently the WaPo's dubious report Sunday declaring the DREAM Act had been "shelved": "The measure that passed in the House on Wednesday is unlikely go anywhere in the Senate," it claimed.

Well, maybe, maybe not. Fact is, the DREAM Act at this point is still very much alive, and there are rumblings from some Republicans -- led by Richard Lugar -- that they too are going to do the right thing and vote for it.

After all, as Laura Ingraham pointed out on Fox & Friends this morning, the DREAM Act was originally sponsored by a Republican Senator -- Orrin Hatch of Utah. Now, of course, like his pal John McCain (who also championed it for years), he's nowhere to be found.

Still, these rumblings make Ingraham nervous, and she warned all good Republicans out there that they need to remember what they got sent to Washington to do, which apparently is: Block and obstruct any and every measure or policy championed or proposed by Democrats, regardless of its actual merits.

And make no doubt: Democrats are working to pass the DREAM Act, because they recognize it's a one-time opportunity to get it right. Here's Harry Reid today at his press conference:

REID: We have made some progress since we visited with you last Thursday. We still have the same number of things to do, but we have made some progress.

We've got -- we must complete the tax bill. We hope to do that as early as sometime this evening. We're going to move as soon as we can to the START treaty. We may have to go back and forth a little bit, because we have to fund the government.

There's going to be a staff briefing on the work that Senator Inouye and his members have done on the funding for the government. That's sometime this afternoon, over in the Dirksen Building.

Once we complete those three major things, we have other things to do that are extremely important. We've got to make sure that we complete work on the DREAM Act. There were some very impassioned presentations made in our caucus today on that.

Right now, it appears that supporters of the act are four votes short. Four Democratic senators in particular need to be reminded of the importance of this legislation: Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who was originally elected with strong progressive support, and is currently a 'no'; his Montana Senate-mate, Max Baucus, who's sitting on the fence; Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, another fence-sitter; and Sen. Kaye Hagan of North Carolina, who, as Kos acutely observes, owes her seat to black and Latino voters.

Some other fence-sitters who could use similar reminders are Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri; Joe Manchin of West Virginia; Kent Conrad of North Dakota; and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

They're being persuaded, evidently, by people like Dana Rohrbacher, who thinks it's a plot to harm white people:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was not joking when he took to the House floor Wednesday to warn that voting for “the Affirmative Action Amnesty Act,” as he dubbed DREAM, will “relegate the position of non-minority American citizens to behind those who are now in this country illegally.”

Appearing on Radio America with Greg Corombus yesterday, Rohrabacher expanded on the dangers to white people of DREAM, explaining that the “real zinger” is that it puts minorities “ahead of every American child who’s not a minority.” “[T]hey can get into college before our kids,” Rohrabacher said on behalf of white people everywhere, warning ominously at the end of the interview that “if Americans aren’t alerted to this, we’re going to lose our freedom”:

ROHRABACHER: And one thing that people don’t talk, and this is the real zinger. … So they go to college, they finish, they get their legal status. Well, if that person happens to be a minority, which many, as we know, illegal aliens are Hispanic in background and other minorities, they then are immediately eligible to all the preferences we have written into our laws.

So we’re not only putting them in the line, so to speak, but we’re putting them ahead of every American child who’s not a minority. You put them at the front of the line for government education program, for jobs, for all the other preferences that we’ve written into our law. This is outrageous! Not only are we paying them money, that should be going to our kids education, but we’re making it so they can get accepted to college before our kids can get into. [...]

Please alert the people, if Americans aren’t alerted to this, we’re going to lose our freedom and we know it’s in jeopardy right now.

Maybe instead they should be listening to Linda Chavez:

A number of Republicans who previously supported the legislation - including one of its chief authors, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah - have decided it is too risky to vote for it now. But the real risk is to the future of the Republican Party.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently called for a “zone between deportation and amnesty” for illegal immigrants, which would allow them to work in the country. Gingrich is a rock-hard conservative, but he recognizes that the hard line that has come to dominate the GOP’s stance on immigration poses problems for the future of the party, and he’s recently launched an outreach to Hispanics. That zone should encompass a path to legalization for the most worthy among illegal immigrants.

The refusal of all but a tiny handful of Republicans to vote for the DREAM Act will become a future nightmare. Hard-line anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric has already cost Republicans at least two U.S. Senate seats, Nevada and Colorado, even in a GOP landslide election. It could well cost Republicans the White House in 2012 - the Democrats are betting on it.

I'm betting that most of them ignore such advice. But it would be unconscionable for Democrats to do so.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.