New Organizing Project blogger
A few days ago, the DREAM Act failed to pass in the Senate. Once again, we were disappointed at Congress for playing politics over our lives. Nonetheless, we must continue to fight and hold on to our dreams because there’s a better future ahead of us. As my friend said, “we lost the battle, but the war is not over yet.” Indeed, our dream is certainly not over yet. In fact, we may be better equipped to push for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform in the upcoming years. Here’s the reason:
The DREAM Act Movement
The DREAM Act movement is stronger than ever. Ever since I joined the movement back in 2008, I’ve seen its growth and felt the momentum build. Moreover, undocumented students are not afraid any more. As we have seen in recent months, dozens of undocumented students across America held sit-ins at Congressional offices, hunger strikes, rallies and many more events promoting the DREAM Act. I consider these works to have been successful in inspiring many people. As a result, the movement is better organized, has a stronger network, and many resources. Moving forward, the movement will be more energetic, powerful, and stronger, and eventually, we will pass the DREAM Act.
Since its introduction in 2001, the general public has been in favor of the DREAM Act. A recent survey suggested that over 70% of Americans strongly support the DREAM Act. Moreover, the DREAM Act can ideally work beyond party lines. Furthermore, hundreds of teachers, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals publicly came out in support of the DREAM Act. Compared to past years, there is more support for the DREAM Act from the public. Therefore, I am confident to say that there will be more Americans who would support the bill, and we can leverage this support as a tool to pressure Congress and President to act swiftly to pass the DREAM Act in upcoming years.
Latino Votes & the 2012 elections
Especially after the midterm elections, Democrats and Republicans alike understand the importance of Latino votes. Indeed, Latinos are the fastest growing immigrant group in this country, and they are influencing American politics. Latinos make up more than 15% of the American population and 10% of Latinos are registered voters. Therefore, both Democrats and Republicans want to seek their votes by pushing the DREAM Act or other pieces of immigration legislation. So far, there aren’t many Republicans who support the DREAM Act, but as time goes by, they may change their political strategy and push for the immigration legislation. In fact, we have seen potential Republican presidential candidates like Newt Gingrich come out of support the DREAM Act. Gingrich is even learning how to speak Spanish, hoping to attract Latino voters in 2012. In the end, politicians care deeply about reelection. I think that Congress may bring up the bill again to court Latino Voters before the 2012 elections.
CA DREAM ACT & OTHER IMMIGRATION BILLS ON THE WAY
While the need for the DREAM Act continues, we may push for bills like the California (CA) DREAM Act and other legislation that would help immigrant communities. State bills such as AB540 apply only to California, but other states may push for bills similar to the CA DREAM Act or AB540. Moreover, we could also seek changes that would prevent undocumented students from facing deportation. In the end, we must keep working for those bills or measures that would benefit immigrant communities while also pushing for and communicating the need for a federal DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform.
The Bottom Line: Keep the DREAM Alivve
We cannot give up. As I mentioned above, we have so much potential to pass the DREAM Act and immigration reform. Therefore, we have to continue to fight until we meet our goals. If you are feeling down or have inner pain, feel free to scream or cry as long as you want, but don’t ever let Congress take away your DREAMS. We’re stronger than this! We can surely prevail and make our mark in history.