Migrant Youth: January 2011 Archives

obama shaking hands.jpg

Some readers may wonder why I have spent so much time writing about Barack Obama and his action or inaction on immigration reform.

For example:

Obama Resumes Deportations to Ravaged Haiti
Obama and Fox News Latino Can't Have It Both Ways On Immigration
Pedro Gutierrez Asks President Obama to Defer His Deportation
Obama Praises DREAM Act While Deporting Dreamers
Obama: Deporting Immigrants So Republicans Don't Have To

And I'm not the only one:

Buyer Beware! Obama: The Deporter and Job Killer in Chief
"Obama is not the answer because he IS the problem"
Man the Deportations: Full Speed Ahead!
Halfway Through Term, Obama Still Hasn't Earned His Nobel Prize
Heroes and Zeroes of Immigrant Rights in 2010

... and many others.

But isn't the president a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act?

Didn't his Department of Justice sue Arizona to prevent implementation of the SB1070 racial profiling law?

Wouldn't it make more sense to spend time and energy pushing Republicans to compromise, to punish them politically for opposing comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act? Hasn't the real struggle moved away from federal legislation to the state and local level?

I think these are questions worth discussing, but I still believe the best national focus for action to achieve immigrant rights objectives is President Obama.

Each national politician who voted against the DREAM Act should be held accountable for betraying migrant youth. And there is a lot of work--both on offense and on defense--to be done on the state and local level.

But the immigrant rights movement should not neglect federal politicians or the 2012 presidential campaign, which has already begun.

First, Obama can be moved politically. The GOP's incentives are more mixed, and on balance run against supporting fair immigration reform.

California Assemblyman Gil Cedillo reintroduced a bill today that would make undocumented college students in California eligible for in-state financial aid. Prospects for passage of the California Dream Act are brighter this year since Governor Jerry Brown said he supported a previous version of the bill, while Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed it three times.

As a state measure, the law would have no effect on an applicant's immigration status, which falls under federal authority. Even so, passage of the bill would help undocumented residents of California pursue a college education and demonstrate the organizing power of migrant youth.

Please take a moment to sign the petition at DreamActivist asking Governor Brown and the California state legislature to pass the California Dream Act.

(Via DreamActivist and Colorlines.)

Stanley Renshon of the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigrant think tank, wrote last week about the DREAM Act:

Anyone with a heart as well as brain recognizes that children brought here by their parents illegally at a very young age are different in many ways from those old enough to know better but who choose to break our immigration laws almost wholly to satisfy their own self-interest.

The question is: what to do about this difficult set of circumstances?

The answer is simple: Pass the DREAM Act.

But Renshon and the two other "compassionate" conservatives he cites in his blog post--Mark Krikorian and Debra Saunders--don't support the DREAM Act in its most recent form. Instead, they discuss some future DREAM Act to be written by conservative lawmakers which would "not include egregious loopholes."

I am skeptical for a few reasons.