Thread: DREAMers are pushing their luck
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- 12-19-2012, 11:52 PM #1
DREAMers are pushing their luck
By Ruben Navarrette, CNN Contributor
updated 12:11 PM EST, Wed December 19, 2012
Ruben Navarrette says a sense of entitlement has crept into the demands of DREAM Act aspirants.. But they should tread lightly
(CNN) -- I know just what a lot of those so-called DREAMers deserve to get for Christmas: a scolding. There are good and bad actors in every movement, and the bad ones -- if not kept in check -- can drag the good ones down with them.
The term DREAMers refers to the estimated 1.4 million to 2 million young illegal immigrants who might have gotten some relief if the DREAM Act, which offered legal status in return for attending college or joining the military, hadn't been torpedoed in the Senate in December 2010.
Having declared their intention to better themselves, some in the DREAMer movement now insist that they're entitled to better treatment than run-of-the-mill illegal immigrants. You know, like the hardworking and humble folks who cut your lawn, clean your house or care for your kids. In fact, the DREAMers seem to suggest they're due a reward for good behavior.
At times, these young people act like spoiled brats. They don caps and gowns and disrupt committee hearings and occupy the offices of members of Congress. They dare police to arrest them, and then act surprised when it happens. They're not realistic, or respectful. They don't ask. They demand.
As we learned recently, the DREAMers have a whole wish list of what they want from Congress next year after what is expected to be a humdinger of an immigration debate. A few weeks ago, more than 500 of these young people -- and their supporters -- were brought together in Kansas City, Missouri. by a well-funded organization called "United We Dream," which bills itself as the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country. At the United We Dream 2012 National Congress, attendees voted for a national platform that demands the following:
-- "Fair treatment for DREAMers and our families and communities, including a road map to citizenship for 11 million Americans without papers and an end to senseless deportations and abuses";
-- "The ability to travel without fear, ensuring all immigrants have access to driver's licenses and the ability to visit family in other countries";
-- "The elimination of barriers to higher education for immigrant youth by extending state and federal financial aid opportunities, as well as in-state tuition rates to DREAMers available to our peers";
-- "An end to excessive and costly immigration enforcement policies which separate families and divide communities, such as 'Secure Communities,' E-Verify, 287G, and roadside checkpoints";
-- "Access to health care and safe, fair working conditions and equal protection under the law for all"; and
-- "Growth and diversity of our movement for change, intensifying efforts to become more inclusive of non-Latinos, LGBTQ communities, differently abled people, people of faith, and other groups."
Gee, kids, can we get you anything else? Maybe free massages the next time you stage a sit-in? These kids want it all.
They demand more than just the ability to live in the United States legally and not have to worry about being deported as many others have been. This is no small thing. The Obama administration removed more than 1.5 million illegal immigrants over the last four years, and there's every indication it plans to remove just as many in a second term. Some of those who have been deported were DREAMers, despite President Obama's claim that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is removing only hardened criminals.
If you believe that, you're probably also expecting a portly fellow in a red suit to come down the chimney on Christmas Eve.
Last summer, Obama announced a deferred action program and offered to stop deporting DREAMers. Under the program, undocumented youth who are eligible apply for a two-year work permit. What happens after that, no one knows.
The DREAMers chalked up a victory. But what some seem to really want is the golden ticket: U.S. citizenship. And they want it yesterday. They're convinced that they deserve it, and they'll settle for nothing less. Many of them reject, even ridicule, proposals by Republicans in Congress to give them legal status without citizenship -- and the voting privileges that come with it.
While they probably don't realize it, their public tantrums are turning people against them and hurting the chances for a broader immigration reform package. And if they set back that cause, heaven help them. They'll sink the progress for a group of people who have given more, worked harder and made greater sacrifices -- people like their undocumented parents. You know, the people who brought them to this country in the first place for a better life, and then fed them, clothed them and sheltered them. These are the folks who told the DREAMers they were special, long before that became the official position of the immigration reform movement.
That doesn't sit well with a lot of Americans -- especially U.S.-born Latinos who were raised to believe that, in this life, you get what you earn. According to polls, some 80% of them support the DREAM Act. But, for a while now, I've detected some discomfort with the DREAMers, particularly their tone and tactics.
It comes from people like Arnold Torres, a Mexican-American political strategist in California (disclosure: he's a friend and business partner) who supports comprehensive immigration reform and has the credentials to prove it. More than 25 years ago, Torres was executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens and helped shape the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Today, a lot of folks on the left talk about creating a pathway to legal status for millions of the undocumented. This guy actually helped do it.
For almost a year, I've been listening to him grumble about the DREAMers and their goals.
"It appears that the agenda was all about getting attention, believing that this would solve their issue" he said. "They seem to be saying, 'If you pay attention to me, I become powerful. So we may be undocumented, but we are powerful now. You mistreated us. You're denying us our dream. Now we demand that you do this for us.' Attention is necessary, but demands are not. We want solutions, but not only for one segment of a much larger community in need."
Torres worries that the DREAMers could, through their hubris, alienate supporters and make it harder to win the backing of Republicans for a larger immigration reform plan.
A lot of DREAMers are drunk on entitlement.
But why should this surprise us? Feeling entitled is the American way. And these kids are as American as they come. They may have been born in another country, but -- unlike their parents -- they were raised in this one. They bleed red, white and blue, use English as their primary language and tweet up a storm before breakfast. And in a country whose motto has gone from "E Pluribus Unum" to "Gimme, gimme. Where's mine?," they're not about to be left behind.
DREAM'ers weren't born; they were created. Not long ago, the conventional wisdom in Washington was that immigration reform wasn't going to happen soon. So forget women and children. It was DREAMers first. No wonder these kids think they're special. Everyone tells them so.
There's only one problem. These people are still in the United States illegally. They don't like being reminded of this, but it's true. So they'd be wise to tread lightly -- especially since they don't have the leverage they once did.
These kids are just not that special anymore. That is, except to themselves.
DREAMers are pushing their luck - CNN.comWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 12-20-2012, 03:53 AM #2
The DREAMers to whom Navarrette refers remind me of the folks who think that it's OK to download music without paying for it. They're spoiled brats.
BTW Navarrette's most recent columns seem much more moderate than ones from two years ago - which was when I'd stopped reading him.
Americans first in this magnificent country
American jobs for American workers
Fair trade, not free trade
Last edited by vistalad; 12-20-2012 at 04:21 AM.
- 12-20-2012, 09:09 AM #3
Come on all of American are you going to put up with this . Our kids don't get any help but the illegal
immigrants get everything wake the hell up & the gov should wake the hell up this is Our money
NOamnesty or dream act
- 12-29-2012, 12:25 AM #4
If I offended demanding DREAMers, I'm not sorry
By Ruben Navarrette, CNN Contributor
updated 8:44 AM EST, Fri December 28, 2012
San Diego (CNN) -- Even for someone who has written more than 2,000 columns over the last 20 years, sometimes the words come out wrong.
All I know is that my wife is angry.
"You need to fix this!" she says, as she holds up her smartphone.
On the screen is a copy of my latest column for CNN.com scolding a faction of the DREAMers, the undocumented youth angling for legal status, for what I -- and judging from the response, quite a few other Americans -- see as a sense of entitlement.
"I hated this column," she said. "I know what you were trying to say, because I know you. But other people won't understand it. They're confused and angry, and they should be. I get your point. You're saying that these kids have become entitled and self-important like other kids and they're going to blow it for everyone else -- including their undocumented parents. But that's not what you walk away from this column with. What you walk way with is meanness. And that's not you."
Bah humbug. Sometimes, it is me. As I often tell audiences that gather for my speeches, constantly cheerful and positive writers work for Hallmark.
And yet, I notice that many of my critics on the left who think the tone of the DREAMer piece was harsh didn't object when, in the past, I lashed out in a similar tone against those on the right.
When voters turned out Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, the major sponsor of that state's dreadful immigration law, I wrote that "evil has left the building." When Mitt Romney was overheard telling donors that he'd have a better shot at winning the presidential election if he were Latino, I mocked the Republican candidate for "playing the victim" because he had the "misfortune to be born a white male." In another column, after Romney blamed his defeat on minorities who were hungry for giveaways, I called him a "loser." And, when writing about the intersection of immigration and politics, I have had no trouble saying that the GOP brand is toxic to Latinos because the party has chosen to "pander to racists and nativists."
Every time, conservatives were upset, but -- on Facebook and other social media -- liberals applauded. Could it be that what really troubles people isn't the tone of a particular column but who is being skewered?
Still, as a Mexican immigrant herself, my wife has a point. And so do many of my critics.
In the offending column, I was not trying to describe the individual lives of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented high school and college students in the United States. Everyone is different. I was talking about a movement, a political strategy that involves DREAMers demanding what they see as their "rights" and, in the process, succumbing to a radicalism that is counterproductive and threatens to torpedo immigration reform for millions of others.
Like the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than ... by donning a cap and gown and occupying the office of a member of Congress until you're arrested. Or something like that.
But people didn't hear that message. They drew upon their own frame of reference and, thinking back to DREAMers they know, declared that they were swell folks who were humble and idealistic and didn't feel entitled. So, they said, I must be wrong.
Ironically, some of those who reacted angrily to the column wound up making its point.
One reader, who identified himself as a DREAMer who has lived in the United States for 11 years, insisted that he and his cohort weren't making demands. Then he added: "Speaking for myself ... at this point I am done asking. I demand to be fully incorporated into this society."
Now there's a lack of self-awareness.
Yet, that's also a good trait for columnists, who can always say things better and clearer. So let's try this again. For those undocumented youth who think that America owes them a fulfillment of their dreams, or who -- like the reader -- demand to be fully "incorporated into this society," that first column was for you. And the scolding fits.
But for the rest of you who work hard and obey the law and keep your head down and just want to find a way to live legally in a country you consider your own and where you've lived most of your life, let me first apologize for lumping you together with the demanders. Then let me give you some friendly advice:
-- Think critically. It's not enough to have beliefs. You have to constantly challenge yourselves so you know why you believe it, and can defend it. Because someday, you'll have to do so;
-- Privileges are not rights, and so they are earned and not granted by our creator. If Congress gives you the privilege of legal status, you need to decide what you're prepared to give in return. You need a plan, and a demand is not a plan;
-- Focus on deeds not words, and admit that neither political party has been courageous or honest on immigration. So don't feel beholden to either. Power comes from exercising options. Shop around;
(Last week, the Obama administration released figures showing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement broke its own record for total number of deportations. The agency removed 409,849 illegal immigrants in the 2012 fiscal year, compared to 396,906 in the 2011 fiscal year and 392,000 in the 2010 fiscal year. As most DREAMers would agree, those numbers are nothing to be proud of, especially since they appear to be driven by politics.)
-- Challenge your friends with the same amount of enthusiasm that you challenge your foes. After all, in the world of politics and beyond, those you support owe you something for standing by them. Make sure you collect; and
-- Accept that, while it's true that you did nothing wrong when you were brought here as a child, someone along the line, someone in your family tree broke a law. They crossed a border without permission, or overstayed a visa. Deal with it. Before we can legalize your status, you have to accept the wrong that was done and someone has to make amends for it -- if not you, then the person who broke the rules.
Above all, always try to be better people who strive for fairness, listen to different points of view, and take responsibility for your words and deeds. And I'll do the same.
If I offended demanding DREAMers, I'm not sorry - CNN.comWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.
- 12-30-2012, 03:50 PM #5
I'm sick of their whining and their demands. We owe them nothing. They are never satisied and won't be until they and their families and anyone else who comes here illegally are given amnesty.
- 12-30-2012, 05:09 PM #6