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Undocumented immigrants and their allies are divided on how to move forward with immigration reform.

From Huff Post Latino Voices:

“Nearly 600 would-be Dream Act beneficiaries and their allies, who helped in a successful push earlier this year for relief for undocumented young people, gathered in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend to determine their path forward.

They settled on a new priority: comprehensive immigration reform that would help the entire undocumented population, not just those who came to the United States as children. …

‘[Comprehensive immigration reform] versus the Dream Act, or comprehensive versus piecemeal, is really a false choice,’ United We Dream managing director Cristina Jimenez said on a call with reporters Monday. ‘That’s the way that politicians in D.C. want to frame this debate, but the local leaders of United We Dream have really decided to set our own terms for this debate.’ …

Dreamers won’t accept a piecemeal approach, United We Dream members said. They want aid for undocumented immigrants in general, and more specific provisions that address driver’s licenses, college tuition and health care for immigrants. They said they will also push for an end to Obama administration-run enforcement programs such as Secure Communities that they say are damaging to the immigrant community.”

Now that immigration reform has become a bipartisan concern following Obama’s successful reelection did — during which he promised to reform the immigration system and the Latino vote carried the Democratic ticket to victory nationwide — the members of United We Dream believe they can and should hold out for something better than DREAM Act, Achieve Act, or any other form of piecemeal reform.

The nerve of such people, so-called supporters of immigrants and their families.

Sure, undocumented immigrants want all the same rights as everybody else in this country, but believe you me, they’d settle for three small provisions: legalized status, a driver’s license, and a right to work.

Most DREAMers I know didn’t scoff at Senator Marco Rubio’s proposal for a diluted DREAM Act back in March. And Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) was in the right when he showed interest in Rubio’s idea.

This was Gutiérrez’s reasoning at the time — and I hope it still stands today:

“I got citizenship. My kids got citizenship. … I don’t fear the federal government. I don’t fear one day disappearing from my family’s life, or my children disappearing from my life. … Who am I to stand by and say, ‘Oh, I got to get something perfect’? I got to stop them from being deported.”

A lot of DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants are probably crabbed over Republican gestures like the Achieve Act, plans that provide less benefits than the DREAM Act would and make applicants jump through more hoops to secure legal status.

But it’s better than nothing. And should something like the Achieve Act pass today, we’d see a million DREAMers — Achievers, technically — line up tomorrow and apply for the lousy thing. Because the undocumented don’t want to wait for a perfect bill with perfect provisions, nor can they afford to. They want legal status now, pure and simple, and they’re willing to worry about gaining permanent residency or citizenship afterward.

So to the members of United We Dream, I understand you aren’t willing to settle for the Achieve Act, or even the DREAM Act, but the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants you claim to support are willing to settle for such bills.

Obama may have won a tough reelection, and the Latino vote was pretty impressive this year, but the Republican Party is still the Republican Party — the same people who backed a presidential candidate that wanted the undocumented to self-deport themselves.

Make the damn compromise.

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007, YoungObservers.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. You really meant to say: Mostly Mexican nationals and their lawyers, are planning the myriad of ways they can get over on the United States, again, even after breaking the laws of this nation. There, fixed it.

  2. Don’t reward the lawlessness of people who are registered citizens of another nation (Mexico mostly) when there are millions of United States citizens that are in dire need of economic help. And furthermore, any concessions towards illegal aliens is a slap in the face to all the Latin Americans and other foreign nationals that are following measured, ethical, sanctioned, and legal ways to become citizens of this country. They are the true immigrants – all others that don’t adhere to the process are just invaders and interlopers. We know all your scams and frauds.

  3. I understand its a fine line between compassion and law with regards to illegal immigration and I know that there will need to be a middle ground. However, going forward we should strongly consider the repercussions of rewarding people for an illegal act. I know I’ve used this example but it still holds true : A man who robs to feed his family is committing an illegal act and needs to be held accountable despite the fact that his plight might tug at your heart.

  4. U guys r way to intense about this. Stealing? Really? A slap in the face really? Expand ur minds and understand how everything works.

  5. Moises, explain to me why people come to the states? they want a “better” environment or more opportunity, correct? Well so does the man who steals to feed his family. However, stealing and coming to the country without the proper paperwork is an illegal act. So then please tell me how it works?

  6. With so many states wanting to succeed from the union and our economy going down. We need to target the things that will unite us and not divide us. And immigration reform would really be great.

  7. Tell me Moises how does it work? explain please

  8. Moises, that’s the problem, we know how everything works and though many illegals are here to feed their families, they are also here to take us for every penny and resources we have – the same with those professional agitators that support them. They don’t come here to assimilate, they come here to take, and a lot of them also come here to set up shop in illegal activities like identity theft and drug gangs! Can you imagine the pandemonium in Mexico if Anglos tried to do the same shams the illegal Mexicans try to get away with here! Why does the US have to put up with the nonsense? The minute we give another “shamasty” to invaders, the sooner they will start planning how they can bring more family members over! The “dreamers” are the last people we should give any consideration too, when there are legal immigrant kids and American born kids that need the same financial and educational help. I am sorry but I am going to help real American citizens, not foreign nationals residing here illegally. Let Mexico and whatever other nations they come from help the out.

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