Accotding to a June 16 article in the Huffington Post "DREAM Act Supporters: Democrats Shouldn't Count On US In 2012" (see 06/16 ID), DREAM Act advocates are getting fed up with the lukewarm support they have been getting from the Democratic party. In December, 2010, five "centrist" Democrats joined Senate Republicans to vote against cutting off debate on the DREAM Act bill. Another Democratic Senator did not vote. The bill failed to survive a Republican filibuster by exactly five votes. (Three Republicans had the courage to defy their own party and voted with the majority of Democrats to end the filibuster).
The White House, which did nothing to put pressure on the Democrats who refused to support the DREAM Act, is now reportedly deporting student activists who would have been eligible for relief under the DREAM Act if it had passed. The DREAM Act, of course, is just one of many examples of President Obama's betrayal of the immigrants whom he had promised as a candidate to protect against being made scapegoats. Instead of the DREAM Act, Obama and his enforcement-only obsessed DHS officials have given immigrants and their supporters a series of nightmares - "Secure Communities", E-Verify and INA Section 287(g) agreements with local officials.
This raises the question why immigrants and their advocates are only now, six months after the DREAM Act fiasco, starting to make noises about the betrayal by the Obama administration. Cowed by the thought of a Republican takeover, which might effectively end all further immigration and lead to the roundup, internment and expulsion of the 12 million mainly Latinos and Asians who are currently estimated to be in the US without authorization (while America's jails fill up with employers and other US citizens who have violated draconian compliance regulations), immigrants and their advocates have been willing for far too long to give Obama a pass on the theory that he is the lesser of two evils.
What is needed is a focused pro-immigrant movement, similar to the Tea party movement on the other side, within the Democratic party - or outside of it. Just as the Tea Party has put its own ideological "purity" ahead of winning elections, and as a result has become a major political power in the service of Fox News, the Koch brothers and its other well heeled corporate backers, immigrants and their supporters need to make their voices heard, even if it means bringing down a president who cannot possibly DREAM of being reelected without the suport of Latino and other minority voters.
When immigration supporters finally show that they are serious, then we will start to hear a great deal less from this administration about monstrosities like "Secure Communities", E-Verify and 287(g), and a great deal more about immigrant rights.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years