Posted by: JanF | July 12, 2012

Why I Vote For Democrats: DREAMs of Our Children

On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced a new Department of Homeland Security policy which allows for young people brought to this country as children to stay here without fear of deportation.

President Barack Obama Announcing New Homeland Security Policy

It was a promise deferred because Democrats could not break through Republican obstructionism in the lame duck session of the 111th Congress and pass the DREAM Act. But when that bill failed, this promise was made:

The White House is preparing a major grassroots push to pass the DREAM Act next year, which President Obama said Wednesday was one of his top priorities after the legislation failed in the recent lame duck session.

On a conference call with journalists Wednesday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said the President is willing to “wage a very public campaign” to push the DREAM Act, which would grant undocumented students who were brought into the United States as minors by their parents a path to citizenship through higher education or military service. He added that grassroots activism will be essential to success.

Last month, President Obmama fulfilled part of that promise.

President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012

Transcript of remarks:

This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”

These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.

Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life — studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class — only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.

That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act. It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship. And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.

Now, both parties wrote this legislation. And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it. It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it. The bill hasn’t really changed. The need hasn’t changed. It’s still the right thing to do. The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.

As I said in my speech on the economy yesterday, it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans — they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country — to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents — or because of the inaction of politicians.

President Obama knows that our country is a country built by immigrants:

“We are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea—the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That’s why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here…The future is ours to win. But to get there, we cannot stand still.”

The Obama administration unveiled its comprehensive policy on immigration in May 2011 only to be stonewalled while the House was busy voting to destroy women’s rights and repeal health care for millions.

Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in El Paso, Texas Chamizal National Memorial El Paso, Texas :

… a simple idea, as old as America itself: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants — a nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America’s ideals and America’s precepts. That’s why millions of people, ancestors to most of us, braved hardship and great risk to come here — so they could be free to work and worship and start a business and live their lives in peace and prosperity. The Asian immigrants who made their way to California’s Angel Island. The German and Scandinavians who settled across the Midwest. The waves of Irish, and Italian, and Polish, and Russian, and Jewish immigrants who leaned against the railing to catch their first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

This flow of immigrants has helped make this country stronger and more prosperous. We can point to the genius of Einstein, the designs of I. M. Pei, the stories of Isaac Asimov, the entire industries that were forged by Andrew Carnegie. […]

So we’re going to keep fighting for the DREAM Act. We’re going to keep up the fight for reform. And that’s where you come in. I’m going to do my part to lead a constructive and civil debate on these issues. And we’ve already had a series of meetings about this at the White House in recent weeks. We’ve got leaders here and around the country helping to move the debate forward.

The enforcement changes that President Obama announced on June 15th are not permanent. The only way to make them permanent is to re-elect him, retain the Senate, and take back the House of Representatives.

In case you wondered what Mitt Romney’s vision for these young people DREAMing of a brighter future, here you go:

… voters are faced with a clear choice when it comes to dealing with the undocumented children of illegal immigrants growing up in the U.S.: Mitt Romney says they should have to serve in the military in order to earn their citizenship. President Obama says those who seek an advanced education should get a chance at being a citizen.

“You’re basically putting undocumented youth in a corner where they have to choose whether they enlist in the military to continue living a life in the shadows,” said Mayra Hidalgo, an undocumented college graduate planning to seek a graduate degree now under the new White House policy ending deportations of DREAM-eligible youth.

Allowing our children, all of our children, to DREAM of and attain a better future … another reason I Vote For Democrats and why you should too.