So many people have had a dream here in America. The ‘American dream’, bandied about when we read about the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, an Austrian body-builder turned actor turned politician. A man who arrived in this country with a dream. How about that famous black man – Martin Luther King Jr.? He had a dream, he talked about it on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963 when he dreamed of civil rights for all.
Well the dream ended for many in this country yesterday when the DREAM Act was defeated 55 to 41 in the Senate. 60 votes were needed to bring the bill to debate. It was passed in the House of Representatives (216 – 198) earlier this month but, even with some hard politicking from supportive politicians, including President Obama, and immigration rights groups to persuade the nay-sayers in both parties over the last ten days, the GOP (Grand Old Party) won. The insularity and unfairness of this decision is mind blowing for a country supposedly built on fairness and openness.
The DREAM was for young men and women, brought unwittingly to this country illegally before their sixteenth birthday. They had to have attended two years of college or served in the military, to be of good moral character – one wonders who is the judge of that – and jump through many other hoops, all reasonable, but which would eventually take them along a path that would lead to citizenship. If passed this bill would not have allowed an instant amnesty to the parents who brought them here, as many have stated.
Why should a child be punished for the decisions or transgressions of a parent?
The fortitude of many of these young people in stepping forward in order to promote this bill is in itself admirable. They are now marked and they may well find themselves in a chain of events that leads to deportation. Deportations, which under the present government in their bid to show even-handedness in the immigration debate, have grown to record numbers this year – 390,000.
One wonders when this government will realise that compromise is not something understood by many of those voted to represent we the people. Quid quo pro is as alien a concept as the argument that these people, who have showed perseverance in education and life, will be stealing jobs from Americans.
A letter to the Houston Chronicle from William H. Osborne suggested these young people should return as educators to their own country. It is naive. To all intents and purposes this is their country. Educated here, assimilated here. They know no other country to call home.
The United States of America is a country built on the dreams of immigrants. Shame on us for denying that right to dream for those who are ready to serve it, and honour the principles on which the country is built!