Saturday, April 30, 2011

DREAM Act May Become Obama's Campaign Nightmare

The President told them "No, I can't." So the fastest-growing voting demographic in the country may soon be telling him that they can't, either. Latinos are losing patience with the tired old refrain of "the Republicans won't let me."

Presente.Org, one of the nation's largest Hispanic advocacy groups, is asking its members for input on a formal plan to withdraw active support for the president's re-election, in light of his continued failure to exert executive power to defer the deportation of a million DREAM Act candidates.

The action comes on the heels of a letter delivered to Obama earlier this month by 22 Democratic senators. who begged him to draw the same line in the sand against deportations, for humanitarian reasons.  Obama said No, he couldn't. Not without the Republicans.  He invited Hispanic leaders and celebrities to schmooze and absorb his charm offensive in the White House on Thursday.  As much as he is totally cool with  the DREAM act... well, without Republican cooperation -- No, he can't.  He is using the same strategy as that long and winding road to the repeal of DADT. Without that almighty bipartisan support, it would not get done, even though he could have gotten it done a lot sooner and saved a lot of gay troops a lot of heartache. 

From the Presente email:

"Since the DREAM Act was defeated last December, the over one million young people who would qualify have become more vulnerable than ever to immigration raids, deportations, and separation from their families. In fact, DREAMers, undocumented immigrant youth who came to the US as children, are actively being served deportation orders even though the President has said they are not an enforcement priority. At the same time, his administration has been deporting non-criminal immigrants at a higher rate than the Bush administration.President Obama has promised to fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and has been a vocal supporter of the DREAM Act. He has repeatedly called on Congress to act on these issues, and Congress has repeatedly failed. We, along with numerous elected officials, religious leaders, and community groups believe the President must use his executive powers to draw a line in the sand, and that that line should be the deportation of DREAM-eligible students.President Obama has said that he does not have the authority to suspend the deportations of a select group like the DREAMers, but that's simply not the case. For this reason, is considering a campaign through which our members would threaten to not actively work on the reelection campaign unless the President uses his Executive Power to stop the deportation of DREAM eligible youth.  Often, the President has asked us to force his hand in advancing progressive policies. We think now is the time to take him up on that proposal, but we need to know whether you are behind us."  (Yes I am and yes we can).

The DREAM Act, passed last year in the still-Democratic House but defeated in the Senate, would allow undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the country before they were 16 and have been living in the U.S. continuously for five years to be eligible for conditional non-immigrant status.

Thursday's White House Photo-Op  -- DREAM on, La Gente

Presente joins a growing number of Latino leaders and groups becoming increasingly vocal in their disappointment with Obama's failure to get immigration reform done.  Despite paying lip service ad nauseum and ad infinitum to changing the system, and insisting he is committed to an overhaul, his  Administration deported a record 393,000 immigrants last year. That is more than during the Bush Administration. Other enforcement tactics during his tenure also have drawn criticism in the immigrant and Hispanic communities.  He recently okayed the use of Drone aircraft to catch people at the border.

Over the weekend, according to AP, Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who helped rally Hispanic voters to support Obama during the 2008 campaign, told a Chicago crowd he was not sure he could back Obama in 2012 if the president did not step up immigration changes.  This, in the President's home state!

Si, se puede, Obama hollowly promised the crowds of Spanish-speaking supporters during his campaign. Just not right now. And that huge, powerful demographic is talking right back. No nos mienten.

P.S.  All I had heard about this story in the mainstream media was the fact that Eva Longoria came out to meet the press from the Oval Office wearing false eyelashes and a skintight dress. Other attendees fled through back entrances, but as the president's new official immigration adviser, Eva talked about how much Obama cares. If Donald has spokesmodels, why can't Barack? 

New Immigration Adviser, Pictured at a White House State Dinner:  A Tough DREAM Act to Follow


Valerie Long Tweedie said...

This administration is making so many idiotic policy decisions; it really will be a wonder if Obama gets re-elected.

So not only has Obama alienated his progressive base, he is now setting out to alienate his Hispanic supporters. I think what the Obama administration should be worried about is not that the two above mentioned groups will go over to the Republicans - whose policies are clearly abhorrent to both groups - but people will just not vote or vote but neglect to tick the presidential box.

I don't know who is advising Obama but those people need to start mixing with some REAL people.

jhand said...

This is a painful subject to me and my colleagues here in South Texas, where there are so many young people affected by immigration laws. We have had many really fine students who couldn't go to a college of their choice because-even if they had lived nearly all their lives in the U.S.- they had no social security number. Our teacher association had worked with the NEA for years to round up sponsors for the Dream Act in the House and Senate, and lobby hard for it. We were confident that the bill would pass, especially after it made it through the House. The cavalier way the Senate blew off the bill makes it difficult to believe that Democratic Senators really care about the general populace. We had the right party in power and they still refused to pass it. I suppose Obama would have signed the Dream Act if it had passed in the Senate, but it is obvious that neither the Senate Dems or the White House whipped the bill with any commitment or energy. This cowardly act, along with the Senate's refusal to consider the public option in the health care debate, makes it difficult for people like me and my teacher colleagues to support any Senate Democrat. With a few exceptions, they keep selling us out. Good for Presente and Luis Gutierrez.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that enforcing the laws that are on the books would alienate anyone that believed in the rule of law. If the immigration laws are bad for the country it should be easy to convince the Congress to change them.


John in Lafayette said...

Richard: Congress will change laws simply because they're bad for the country? Do you really believe what you're saying? How many laws are on the books right now, not because they're good for the country, but because they're good for particular constituencies?

Such is the case with immigration laws. We refuse to do anything to help illegal immigrants because they represent a very large pool of cheap, unskilled labor that can be exploited by giant agribusiness, meat packers, and the restaurant industry. Not only that, this pool of cheap labor doesn't dare unionize or go running to OSHA over unsafe working conditions.

I had a front row seat for this, having worked in the restaurant industry for over 30 years before leaving for teaching. I saw my business suffer by adhering to the law while others profited by paying sub-minimum wages in cash under the table to illegal immigrants. I saw my $9 an hour dishwashers have Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks to pay for the medical care of seniors, most of whom are much better off, but couldn't afford medical care for themselves or their children.

I also watched as Congress knuckled under to giant corporations by failing to pass the DREAM act and failing to include a public option in the health care "reform" bill.

And you want us to believe that Congress will change laws simply because they're good for the country?

Congress didn't do what's best for the country, and they're not going to any time soon, especially since the Citizens United decision. They're going to continue to do what is best for Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and WellPoint.

Anonymous said...


You go a long way in making the case that big central government is corrupt government no mater what political viewpoint they pretend to represent. You can include the office of the President in that inditement too. Look at the advisors around this President.


Anonymous said...

Why reward those criminals who are here illegally ? Enforce the law, or change it. What about all those who lawfully immigrated here ? The Hispanic cheering squad offers every option except to enforce the law, and deport the criminal illegals.
Obama acts like a King, and not as an elected leader.
If Obama continues his disregard for US Law, other forces will come to bear and force his removal by any means necessary.

Suzan said...

Let's form our own group.

Call it "Vote No on Obama Until He Votes Yes For US."

Or something like that.

My guess is lots of folks would join!

Love ya,