Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Democrats can DREAM

Following upon President Obama's immigration speech in El Paso yesterday, Senate Democrats will re-introduce the DREAM Act (in full, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), which would give undocumented young people a path to citizenship if they go to college or serve in the military. The bill passed the House in December but met obstruction in the Senate, where, of course, Republicans will again do their utmost to block it.

So what's the point? Well, it's the politics, not the policy (although the policy is good), and it's all about the Latino vote and its possible inclusion in a long-term Democratic majority.

In this case, it isn't just that the DREAM Act is broadly popular, or that the military supports it, it's that Latinos (or Hispanics, as the two terms are generally used interchangeably), perhaps the key emerging demographic group in the U.S., see it as essential.

As Janet MurguĂ­a, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, wrote about the House vote in December, this vote is "defining," meaning that it will be remembered. And what will be remembered is that Democrats supported the legislation and Republicans opposed it.

For more on this, and specifically on how Democrats and Republican stand in stark contrast to one another on immigration, see my post from last December.

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