Media: September 2010 Archives

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intent last week to attach the DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill that would appropriate money to fund U.S. military operations. Democrats were not able to get 60 votes in support of beginning debate on the bill, so now the future of the DREAM Act is up in the air. The DREAM Act would provide permanent residence to undocumented youth brought to the U.S. as children who complete two years of college or military service.

After the vote, DREAMers immediately responded to their network of supporters: Call 202-224-3121 and ask Senator Reid to bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor as a standalone bill.

One persistent feature of media coverage of the DREAM Act is the tendency to characterize the DREAM Act as "controversial" legislation: for example, here, here, and here.

But the editorial boards of those same media outlets have overwhelmingly supported passage of the DREAM Act, 14 out of 16 at last count. I have read op-eds by anti-immigrant politicians or advocates that took an anti-DREAM Act position. But I have seen only two opinion pieces from newspaper editorial boards that opposed the DREAM Act on the merits. And each of them mischaracterized some key element of the Act or of the debate.

Migrant youth are back in the U.S.'s paper of record as Julia Preston covers migrant youth demonstrations that are happening around the nation in favor of the DREAM Act.  Preston put a special emphasis on a demonstration in Miami, Florida, which has to be one of the coolest things migrant youth have done yet.    Reform Immigration For America has some of the pictures and above is a video.  
Great to see migrant youth leaders at the fore of making this a reality.  Sombrero tip to The Sonia G.

Undocumented and Unafraid

As the discussion about the DREAM Act heats up in the Senate this week, news outlets around the country have expressed support for the Act. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children more than five years ago the chance to apply for legal status, provided they graduate from high school or obtain a GED and complete two years of college or military service.

I've not yet seen a newspaper editorial anywhere that has gone on record opposing the DREAM Act. [Update: now there are two.] This could be because people who take the time to become familiar with the Act well enough to write a column about it end up supporting it. Or it could be that those who oppose it don't want to mark their place in history on the wrong side of a landmark civil rights struggle.

Here are the expressions of support for the DREAM Act, if I've missed any, please let me know in comments.

Updates below [9/21/10 00:25 EST]:

Second update below [9/23/10 9:00 EST] - I've revised the list to include only newspaper editorials, not op-eds or other pieces not written by the editorial board of a news outlet:

In favor of the DREAM Act:

Arizona Republic

Chicago Tribune

Denver Post

Deseret News
- Utah (Jacksonville, NC)

Los Angeles Times

Mercury News (San Jose, CA)

Newsday (Long Island, NY)

New York Daily News

New York Times

Ogden Standard-Examiner (Utah)

Philadelphia Inquirer

Saint Louis Today

San Francisco Chronicle

Opposed to the DREAM Act:

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Las Vegas Review-Journal

See his letter in the Arizona Republic:

Ever since I was a young boy watching Rambo, Commando and Van Damme fighting and taking no prisoners, I have wanted to join the military.

I thought serving my country would be like fighting our enemies in the films when Arnold Schwarzenegger would pick up two machine guns and start shooting all the bad guys.

The dream ended when I was 17. A Navy recruiter came to my high school, and I told him about my status. I told him that I was his next Navy SEAL (the best of the best).

He chuckled, and I did, too. I told him I didn't have a Social Security number and asked if that would be a problem. He answered yes.

I said, "Yes, I can join?" He said it would be a problem.

This week, the U.S. Senate will vote on the Dream Act. I urge Arizonans to support it.

I want to serve in our armed forces, I want to wear the uniform, I want to be a Navy SEAL.

- Jose Patino, Phoenix
According to a tweet from Marisa Treviño of Latina Lista, Colin Powell just delivered a ringing endorsement of the DREAM Act on Meet the Press.

Colin Powell is my new hero. Y? He delivers a stunning DREAM Act endorsement on Meet the Press. Also, y immigrants are important 2 U.S.less than a minute ago via web

UPDATE (11:23 a.m.) - Politico has more:

America is going to be a minority nation in one more generation.  Our minorities are not getting educated well enough now. Fifty percent of our minority kids are not finishing high school. We've got to invest in education. We should use the Dream Act as one way to do it. Whether it should be part of the Defense Bill or not, is something the Congress will decide.

So, I'm telling you and I'm telling all of my - my - my citizens around the country is that immigration is what's keeping this country's life blood moving forward.  They enrich our culture with every generation. And we have to find a way to protect our borders, but at the same time, treat our immigrant population with respect and dignity and give them a path to citizenship.
Colin Powell - Politico (19 September 2010)
UPDATE 2 (12:45 p.m.): Meet the Press has video of Colin Powell speaking out on the DREAM Act:

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UPDATE 3 (12:50 p.m.): The Hill also covered Colin Powell's remarks.

You might remember David Cho from when he wrote a DREAM Now Letter for Citizen Orange

Alas, now he's moved onto bigger and better things.  Yesterday, he was featured in the Wall Street Journal.  He's got the lede and the last line in the article:

LOS ANGELES--David Cho, an honor student and leader of the UCLA marching band, plans to join the U.S. Air Force after he graduates in the spring--if Congress lets him.

Mr. Cho is among the potential beneficiaries of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors bill--informally known as the Dream Act--that would give some illegal immigrants a shot at becoming U.S. citizens.


Currently, students like Mr. Cho come of age in the U.S. without the right to legally work, join the military or receive federal loans for education. Most of these children had no say in their families' decision to settle illegally in the U.S. Generally, they have not been targeted for deportation, unless they have criminal records.

The nativist noise machine is gearing up for a vote on the DREAM Act after Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he would introduce it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act as early as next week.
I just made up this twitter petition:

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza both went on Keith Olbermann last night and made an excellent case for why we need to pass the DREAM Act now.

But why not also let the youth speak for themselves?

Ask Keith Olbermann if he'll have migrant youth leaders like the authors of these letters ( on his show as the DREAM Act comes up for a vote.

Kyle de Beausset - (17 September 2010)

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I'll write more later, but in the meantime I thought I'd highlight a few quotes from Julia Preston at the New York Times on the migrant youth movement:

Senator Reid's announcement fell like a lightning bolt on immigrant student groups across the country, which have been in high gear all year demanding that the Democrats move separately on the bill tailored to benefit them, known by its supporters as the Dream Act. In the first major test of their ability to mobilize, on Thursday they began a campaign of protests across the country and telephone calls to lawmakers.


The first showdown on the student bill will come in a procedural vote on Tuesday. Whatever the outcome, the Democrats have seen some political gain. The effort brought new unity for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the immigrants' rights movement and leaders of the immigrant students, who have not always agreed on whether to push for the student bill as a separate measure.

The vote gives the student movement a chance to show its muscle. Unlike other illegal immigrants, the students have become increasingly willing to protest publicly despite the risks.

"Our people will remember in November," said Carlos Saavedra, a Latino leader of the immigrant student movement. "They will be ready to reward or to punish."
Julia Preston - New York Times (16 September 2010)
All eyes are on the migrant youth movement.  History is being written as I write these words, and victory is the only outcome because we are on the side of justice. 

If you haven't been on facebook, twitter, or following the news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that he would be introducing the DREAM Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  Univision anchor Jorge Ramos tweeted last week that Reid wanted to move the DREAM Act before November.  Now we know how Reid wants to move it.  The DREAM Act could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday of next week.