REFLECTION…on Galvanizing the Latino Vote.

Seth Hoy’s article, “Will the GOP’s Failure to Move the DREAM Act Galvanize the Latino Vote”, brings up an interesting point that would have been completely plausible in a different time, perhaps in an alternate universe.  But today, based on how Democrats are behaving, it seems hardly a fact but rather one person’s hope that this becomes a community’s call to action.  In his article, Hoy wrote, “In a procedural vote yesterday, Senate Republicans (and two Democrats) voted not to proceed (56-43) to the Defense Authorization bill in a party line vote, preventing the consideration of, among others, the DREAM Act amendment. Hemming and hawing their way through floor speeches, Senate Republicans expressed sympathy for the plight of potential DREAM Act students and offered to “debate the merits of the DREAM Act” in a standalone bill, just not on the Defense authorization bill. This latest vote, coupled with some in the GOP’s recent anti-immigrant rhetoric on birthright citizenship and Arizona’s immigration enforcement laws, has the potential to not only alienate America’s fastest growing voting bloc, but drive them to the polls in November.”

I’m sorry, but I just I don’t buy it. Democrats are just as guilty, perhaps more so, as Republicans. Yes Republicans have galvanized their base to come out and vote on anti-immigrant legislations across the country; but it was quite irresponsible, almost criminal, for Democrats, who held the majority, not to do something about it. They could have prevented a lot of the damage already caused. Certainly they could have eased up the number of arrests and deportations of innocent families than had occurred under George W. But it seems to me that under Democratic leadership, more harm is done than good. This latest attempt to pass the DREAM Act was one Senator’s attempt to win the Latino vote in a very close election to win his state and for the president to save face. Again, this just shows how Latinos are responsible for bearing all the brunt of a political wrestling match for control. We are, as usual, paying such a high price with nothing in return. We’re smarter than that and we should make both Democrats and Republicans aware of that.

As for me and the community I serve, the devil I know is not the devil I will continue to support, cuestenos los que nos cueste. If collectively voting for a 3rd candidate or no one at all means no reform for the next two years — something congresswoman Loretta Sanchez said anyways in an interview that if Dems don’t win this November, regardless of a major win in 2012, there will still be no reform for 10 to 20 years — then so be it. At least the candidates running in 2012 will know we’re tired of constantly supporting the lowest common denominator.

Let me be clear, it was devastating to learn that the DREAM Act did not pass.  All I kept thinking about was the many AB540 students I met and helped house at my apartment when they needed to stay late to study for midterms or finals and there were no buses available so late at night to take them home because they could not afford to live nearby.  I kept thinking about how hard they studied and worked to pass the DREAM Act so that their younger sisters and brothers could have an easier journey.  I kept thinking about my friends who through hard work, commitment and sacrifice earned their degrees but can’t get jobs because of their status.  It’s sad and heartbreaking.  But it’s sadder to think we are allowing ourselves to be played and manipulated in this manner, more so now than ever before.

We will have the DREAM Act one day, hopefully without sacrificing our sisters and brothers as cannon fodder to the industrial military machine, only to see them forced to remain longer than the mandated 2 years under stop-loss.  Yes we’ll have immigration reform.  But the way things are going, I don’t think it will happen under this president.  We should instead prepare ourselves for 2012 and let the chips fall where they may.  In the meantime, let’s make 2010 the year we spoke loud and clear to both parties that we will not be held hostage or as Congresswoman Sanchez made us painfully aware, threatened by exercising our vote the way we choose to.

You can find his article at:
http://immigrationimpact.com/2010/09/22/will-congress%E2%80%99s-failure-to-move-the-dream-act-galvanize-the-latino-vote/

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