Here’s a rarity in Washington, D.C., these days: bipartisan legislation supported by the president, leading conservatives, a vast majority of Congressional Democrats, and a supermajority of the public. It’s the DREAM Act, a bill that would create a path to legal status for undocumented youth who demonstrate good moral character, graduate from high school, and go to college or join the military.
Sadly, what is not rare in the nation’s capital is the prospect of political gridlock over a worthy measure that advances the national interest and enjoys broad public support. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opposed consideration of the DREAM Act before the election on grounds that it shouldn’t be part of the National Defense Authorization bill. Now a spokesman for the minority leader contends that bringing up the DREAM Act ignores the results of the November 2 election, which he suggests mandated an exclusive focus on cutting taxes.
Mobilization in support of this bill, however, has reached a tipping point after nearly a decade of activism around the issue. Its supporters will keep driving until this DREAM is a reality for hundreds of thousands of people. In the past couple of months alone they have organized protests and hunger strikes that have generated national media coverage, galvanized support from business and religious leaders in states across the country, and marched with veterans. They’ve also “outed” themselves on national television, risking arrest and deportation.
Momentum around the DREAM Act continues to grow: from California to Maine, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington state to the steps of the Capitol, and everywhere in between. These kids are rallying for hope. They are calling for justice, and they are seeking what we all want—a bona fide shot at the American DREAM. Let’s hope Congress overcomes its partisan bickering and gives them that shot.
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