#gopdreamact. This is happening. But before you have a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that it’s the GOP, take a beat and think.
What do we want? A path to citizenship for immigrant youth. Period.
Note that it does not say, “a legislative victory for Democrats”, or “more Democrats in elected office so they can pass the DREAM Act”. We want a path to citizenship, and that’s pretty much it.
Both parties have agendas, and usually that agenda is to win elections. Right now, the Democrats are tapping some key demographic voting blocs that will take them to victory. They are scoring big, and rightfully so, with the GOP’s multi-state, multi-pronged attack on a variety of women’s issues (including pro-choice issues and access to birth control). The decently branded “war on women” is drawing a clear line in the sand and Democrats hold large margins of victory against Republicans among women.
The line in the sand with the “Latino” voting bloc is less clear. (I put Latino in quotes because while Puerto Ricans in New York, Salvadorans in Los Angeles, Cubans in Miami, Mexicans in Chicago, and Chileans in Texas (hey that’s me!) may seem to fit neatly into this category… identity is not so simple. Chew on that.) Anyways, the point is, the voting bloc of people who care about immigration issues, which happens to include Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Africans (shocker!) have successfully managed to raise the issue that Obama has deported more people than George W. Bush and SComm continues to proliferate, state by state, community by community.
We’ve said it before and we’ve said it again. The GOP knows they are eventually going to have to soften up. Newt Gingrich, all things aside understands this, which is why in the earlier primary debates he was willing to talk about immigration without defaulting to nativist talking points. Enter Marco Rubio. Not only did we send him this amazing Valentine’s Day Card (which totally worked), but he is, to steal the words from the pundits, the current conservative darling upon whom the GOP rests its hope of bringing around latinos. Actually, the GOP has been successful at cultivating latino GOPers as politicians(see Governor of New Mexico, for example), but they have yet to deliver on the issues. Having a DREAM Act created by Marco Rubio would be the ultimate political coup for a party in need of a hero. They need this – a lot of Republicans will resist it. A lot. But they need it, and they need to know that if they move forward with it, they will be acknowledged for having done so.
So now we wait. There is no bill yet. There is an idea. There is discussion. There is an opportunity. It’s an election year, so things are going to get hot. If a GOP DREAM Act comes up – how will the Democrats react? This will be the ultimate test of our purported friends and allies. So don’t get played. Not by the Democratic Party, who want our unflinching loyalty despite their less than stellar record on our issues, and not by the GOP, who may try to push something half-baked in an attempt to appease us in an election year. If we are clear about what we want, we won’t be derailed, and there may be hope yet for the DREAM Act in 2012.