As the end of the year and of the legislative session approaches, we've seen the DREAM Act get closer to reality than many thought possible--and with an incoming Republican-controlled congress, it likely represents the last chance to humanize any part of U.S. immigration policy for at least a couple of years. And it's an issue that's brought out passionate dialogue from both sides here at ColorLines.
Here's a selection of the best and most thoughtful comments from ColorLines readers on our ongoing coverage of the issue, as DREAM Act supporters have braved hunger strikes, direct actions, media blackouts, and deportation, and as the bill itself has undergone compromises and bargaining in the halls of the House and Senate.
Thanks as always to Julianne Hing for her tireless and meticulous coverage of the bill's convoluted recent history, and to all our writers and interviewees. And if you'd like to join the conversation, jump into the comments right here on ColorLines.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Youtube.
GabachodeMichigan on Julianne Hing's profile on Hector Lopez, a college student who didn't know he was undocumented until ICE agents staked out his house:
Ignorance is the root of why folks fly airplanes into buildings and it is not just the ignorance of the hijackers. It is comforting to think "they hate us because of our freedoms" but ultimately our current immigration system serves neither our long-term security or our long-term economic interests. Injustice breeds injustice.
You can keep on repeating simplistic slogans like "enforce our laws" or you could go pick some vegetables in the fields and learn something from your co-workers.
FaithBasedHate on Julianne's December 6 roundup of the act's then-dim prospects:
Being in this country illegally is a civil violation, not a crime. Whether you like that or not, get your facts straight.
I agree with everything you just said. Enforce the laws and make sure no one crosses the borders illegally. So for the beneficaries of the Dream Act, who by the way have not broken that rule, should be given an opportunity.
Dream Act kids did not cross the border illegally. They were pushed over the line by no fault of their own. American law does not punish people like that. "Most" of us sane people are able to distinguish between the perpetrators and the victims.
Adrian on Julianne's breakdown of the misinformation spouted by GOP legislators in opposition of the bill:
My wife and I have been waiting over 3 years for here legal status because she came to the U.S. at age 2 illegally and after high school she decided to get a college degree. The point that marriage makes you have resident status does not apply if you stay in this country after you turn 18. At that point they consider you breaking the law. If you lie and say you went to Mexico after high school, it can give you resident status rather quickly. I thought the same thing till I went through the process, there is so many different laws and stipulations attached to immigration. They sent her a deportation letter after I applied for her citizenship.
Figuringitout on Miriam Zoila Pérez's comparison of the DREAM Act's potential positive impact to the success of Cuban immigrants:
I'm not sure this is true for most. Many of those who fled Cuba were elites deposed by Castro as well as middle class people who had connections, especially to credit, in Cuba. The U.S. was happy to accept Cubans as a strike against Communism. I'm all in favor of the DREAM Act, but it seems like the argument that "if we gave Mexicans and Central Americans citizenship, they'll end up as successful as Cubans" ignore a lot of class and political history.
[...] didn't the system "actively" help Cubans because the first wave of Cubans to come to south Florida actually had a reasonable amount of money, had access to credit in Cuba, and could kind of set up shop without much help from the U.S.?
Amor2 on the same post:
Woohoo! Right on I'm Cuban too and it seems so unfair how much better we get treated than other Latino groups. Isn't it amazing what immigrants can achieve when the system is actively helping them, as opposed to actively oppressing/marginalizing them?
And @tnopper, responding on Twitter -- pardon the formatting and grammar:
This is a TERRIBLE defense of DREAM ACT [...]
#1: it doesn't adequately address how 1st wave cuban refugees were encouraged to overthrow socialism/castro via entry in US
#2: doesn't adequately interrogate immigration/refugee politics as a tool of US hegemony or as a means to engage in geopolitics
#3: why would anyone committed to social justice want people to take a route like Cubans did in terms of whiteness & politics?
#4: doesn't adequately critique whiteness--just reporting that some groups aspire to be white isn't challenging the desire[.]
Rodrigo Araujo on Julianne's December 8 liveblog, during which the DREAM Act was successfully passed by the House of Representatives:
if I owned a bank or a business, I would print instructions, manuals or whatever in all languages possible that were present at the community where my business is taking place.
One of the most American things is capitalism, and my man, when you own a business you want to make money and not choose your customers and make less ;)
These kids will not take college spots or working spots from Americans, it will open more spots at colleges and jobs and also make the market that more competitive because it means more higher educated people looking for a job, and the higher educated you are the more you make, so imagine all the nice competition that our market will have, Americana at its best (and Capitalism).
[...] You know that our current system is broken right, someone will waste around $30k and wait almost 7-10 yrs to get the green light to come here, which until then he will have lost the job, died, or to begin with he did not even have $30k to invest in something that in the end could come back as a NO.
Just_Anita on Julianne's recap of the highlights and worst moments from the House debate:
[...] why didn't we hear one word about the $37 billion dollars our immigrant population contributes to our economy? Not one word!! And yes, it's completely cold hearted and narrow minded to say that spending $1 on an immigrant (legal or otherwise) child is $1 less dollar spent on a national's child. What?? Seriously. How about the $3 a immigrant pays in taxes to every $1 we nationals spend. These are our Representatives?
PiperJM on the same post:
FYI: There is no such thing as 2 years of military service. the bill require military service which is a commitment of 8 years total (4 active duty and 4 reserves) in most cases. ... I just want people to know that the commitment is not *just* two years because many youth are misinformed on that count. The likelihood of being honorably discharged before your service is up is very slim.
And @ChepeMX via Twitter:
You guys have done a really bad job of covering the DREAM Act recently. What happened to stories like [ColorLines contributor Michelle Chen's May 2010 article "Is the DREAM Act a Military Recruiter's Dream, Too?"]? [...] The military component & the DREAM Act movement itself deserves critique. What's up w the Cuban story? Overall, weak coverage.
And finally, M.H on Harry Reid's promise that the DREAM Act will get a vote in the Senate before the end of the session turns the House vote into worthless paper:
As much as I want to lash out at this bill and these people, my heart says otherwise. I'm a conservative. The usual conservative objection to any path to citizenship for illegals is that it rewards lawbreaking. You can hardly apply that argument to people who came here as kids because their parents dragged them across the border or some overstayed their visa. These kids could be anybody including Irish, Italian, or any other race that might look just like the rest of us. I was against it before but now I support it. It would be inhumane not to.