Monday, March 1, 2010

Why the anti immigration movement fears the DREAM Act

Just yesterday I watched a video of the Trail of Dreams walkers as they joined a NAACP protest of a KKK rally. The white robes said the same ugly old things they always say; onlookers shook their heads in dismay. The hate and the ignorance went hand in hand with the tired old arguments these anti-immigration and nativist groups trot out to justify their racist crusade. And as usual they fall flat in the face of reality.
To claim that immigrants, documented or not, are guilty of having a free ride on the back of taxpayers is asinine. Immigrants pay sales taxes property taxes and regular taxes; the undocumented simply do not use a large majority of the public services they help fund. The same holds for crime waves on undocumented immigrant; in actuality they are more likely to be victimized and not seek help from the police. Lastly, to assert that they steal jobs from “real Americans” is false as well - in many cases they create more jobs and even rescue communities from economic downturn.

DREAM Act eligible students represent the absolute opposite of every stereotype ever dredged up by anti immigrant wingnuts .Remember, when we talk about DREAM Act students, we are talking about young students who exhibit the best of what we expect from all our children: academic success and the desire to succeed even further. They have defied the odds and many accomplish the highest honors. They are not responsible for their undocumented status, having come to the US with their parents as children; to attempt to punish them for something that was entirely out of their hands smacks of persecution and racism. There is ample proof of the benefits that a community and the nation as well stand to reap when the handicap of undocumented status is removed from these students and they are permitted to fully participate and contribute to society. And so DREAMers are the nativists’ worst nightmare, and the best argument for defeating this newest wave of anti immigrant sentiment that is sweeping our country.
We need to ask people to check their real-life experiences against the negative rhetoric they hear on the media. Americans need to answer these questions: have you personally lost a job, been victimized by, or been disadvantaged by an undocumented person? The honest answer will uniformly be NO. Look around you America, rip the scales of ignorance from your eyes. Demand that Congress stop holding the lives of thousands of student hostage and take the first step to fix our broken immigration system by passing the DREAM Act.

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