Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pretty bad news

Welcome, Unknown News readers. Maybe after this you'd like to check out some of my other posts.

In this case, "pretty" does not mean "kinda," but is used in the slangier meaning of "truly."

The DREAM Act has failed in the Senate.

It's hard to believe this is a controversial bill. It really is. In an even reasonably sane world, it would be a gimmie. It provides that an undocumented resident who was under 16 when they came here with their parents, is not yet 30, has lived in the US for five years, has a high school diploma (or the equivalent) and either spends two years in the military or attends college would become documented - that is, "legal" - as a "conditional permanent resident" and be eligible for later citizenship. It also says that those who are at least 12 and enrolled full-time in primary or secondary school will not be deported and upon completion of secondary school would be eligible to apply for Conditional Permanent Residency.

That is what has got the wackos in a ginned-up tizzy over "all them illegal furriners." This is just insane.

The DREAM Act or its equivalent was first introduced nine years ago and has been introduced in every session of Congress since. This year was the time people thought it might actually make it.

They were wrong. And so
[t]he dream has died, at least for now. ...

The House had passed the bill, but on Saturday a Senate vote to cut off debate failed 55-41 on a largely party-line vote, essentially killing the legislation for this year. ... And with Republicans taking over the House and gaining seats in the Senate as a result of the recent midterm elections, prospects for the DREAM Act have dimmed considerably.
So by five votes, something between one and two million young people striving to make a life for themselves still have to live in the shadows, perpetually fearful of the ICE-y knock on the door because some combination of ass-licking political cowardice and xenophobic paranoia outweighed both rationality and justice.

Where were those five votes when they were needed? Where were the famous GOPper "moderates?" Where was the "moderate" Olympia Snowe? The "moderate" Susan Collins? The "moderate" Scott Brown? And where were those five Dimcrats who voted with the GOPpers to kill the bill? Where were Max Baucus, Jon Tester, Kay Hagan, Ben Nelson, and Mark Pryor? Crouching under their desks in trembling fear of fear of brown-skinned hordes? Where?

And if you really want to reach new levels of political depravity, where was Orrin Hatch? He wasn't even there: He
skipped the vote to attend a grandson’s college graduation but said in a statement that he would have voted against the bill, calling it a ploy by Democrats to gain favor with their base voters.
He was one of the original sponsors when an almost identical bill was first introduced in 2001! This was his idea, dammit! And the current bill is significantly stricter than his original proposal - so the issue can't be that it's too liberal. What heights of hypocrisy do you have to ascend to turn your back on your own idea based according to your own words entirely on which political party gets how much of the credit? And no, the business about the GOPpers changing their position on the Cat Food Commission after Obama endorsed the idea does not begin to compare: This is not about setting up some stupid commission designed to reach a pre-determined conclusion, this is about honest-to-gosh-real justice that directly affects the lives of honest-to-gosh-real people in numbers that could equal half the total population of his whole state.

But while Hatch may have been the most egregious example of saying "Fuck you" to a million young people, he clearly was not the only one. This is more than disappointing. It is more, even, than outrageous. It is a moral disgrace.


JM said...

I dunno, the Dream act was too attached to military participation:

At least DADT is a separate issue in that gay people can choose to join up or not, but with the Dream Act, it seems a lot of immigrants would be forced to just to receive special benefits

LarryE said...

First, there are no "special benefits" involved, especially as the term "special benefit" has a political meaning that equates it with improper favoritism. Providing what's called "a path to citizenship," a way to obtain something - with its very real and very considerable benefits - most all of us here possess simply by accident of birth, providing a way, as I put it, out of the shadows, does not constitute a "special benefit." And no, I do not agree that because it imposes requirements such that only a certain segment of the undocumented can take advantage of it that it becomes a "special" benefit, any more than I would agree that because the career I had was one that many more aspire to than are able to pursue means that was a "special" anything.

That said, it's true that the DREAM Act does indirectly encourage military enlistment. It's the big thing about it I do not like. However, that is not nearly enough to dissuade me from endorsing it and being outraged and seeing it as clear evidence of racist xenophobia that it is even controversial.

Yes, it is not as good as amnesty. Yes, it is only one step. But dammit, it is a step and - unlike health care "reform" - it is one more likely to encourage further steps than to discourage them.

Lastly, the argument at the link, which is that somehow the presence or absence of DADT and the DREAM Act are going to affect the ability of the military to obtain the warm (later to be cold) bodies necessary for its wars is ludicrous.

Also, let's not forget that the military already accepts non-citizens with even temporary resident status and has already been repeatedly accused of targeting undocumented residents. The DREAM Act does not effectively open any doors for enlistment that aren't already there.

JM said...

Ah, I see. I agree then and sorry for my use of the term special benefits.

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