Pressure Mounts For Moderate Republicans To Support the DREAM Act
Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) is starting to feel the heat of pro-migrant voters, specifically Latino voters. Tonight, Univision will air a debate in which current Florida governor and U.S. Senate nominee Charlie Crist will come out in support of the DREAM Act. The day before yesterday, Representive Kendrick Meek (D-FL), and also a nominee for U.S. Senate, hand delivered a letter to LeMieux. This part of Meek's letter says it all:
It is important to note that the State of Florida stands much to gain from the passage of this legislation. By alowing certain youths an opportunity at a solid education and a pathway to citizenship, we can stop the current cycle of immigrant poverty and break the social caste systems that discourage economic and personal growth. Passage of the legislation will also help reduce high school dropout rates, boost college attendance and increas the poll of nurses, teachers, highly qualified recruits for the U.S. armed forces, and other high-need areas of our workforce.In Arizona, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is also facing significant pressure. The migrant youth movement in Arizona has been hounding him and converting Republicans wherever he goes. Currently, undocumented youth who would benefit from the DREAM Act are camped outside of his office until he passes the DREAM Act. A few days ago, members of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition approached his daughter, Meghan McCain, and got her to state her support for the DREAM Act:
Further, Florida has had a standing tradition of bi-partisan support for immigration reform with Senators Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez helping lead the way with their sponsorship of the DREAM Act. On the House side the legislation enjoys bi-partisan support with eight Florida members currently signed on as co-sponsors.Kendrick Meek (16 September 2010)
So it goes with the rest of the twelve Republican Senators we need to support the DREAM Act as actions happen across the country.
Seven Republicans voted for the DREAM Act in 2007: Bob Bennett (R-UT), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Richard Lugar (R-IN), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). If they refuse to vote for the exact same bill in 2010 they will expose themselves as the "party of no" that Democrats have accused them of. It is bigger than just the 2010 elections, though. If the Republicans do not vote in favor of getting the DREAM Act passed, now, they will turn off an entire generation of Latino voters.
If the Democrats are playing politics with the DREAM Act, so be it. Moderate Republicans should not let politics get in the way of the lives of millions of migrant youth, or the lives of the voters in the communities that undocumented youth are intertwined with, for that matter. I personally can say that as furious as I've been at Democrats for tearing apart our communities with over a thousand deportations a day, they've got me focused on Republican votes and the upcoming elections, right now, like I've never been before.
If my senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown (R-MA), votes against the DREAM Act I will work harder than I've ever worked on anything like this before to get him replaced with a pro-migrant Senator in 2012. As Latino migrant youth leader Carlos Saavedra said in the New York Times "Our people will remember in November. They will be ready to reward or punish."