Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Republicans Should Have Passed the DREAM Act

Adam Serwer shares the glorious words of John Cornyn to the latino community - a "who are you going to believe, me or your lyin' eyes" attempt to blame the Democrats for the absence of an immigration reform bill. Well then, with the Republicans controlling Congress, their bill will be coming along any day now... right?

Serwer is correct that the Dems share responsibility for the fact that no immigration reform bill passed. That's perhaps not surprising given the state of the economy and the high levels of anti-immigrant sentiment in large parts of the country, but I'm not one to take the approach of, "It's okay for our elected officials to punt if they fear that doing what's best for the country might harm them in the next election." Cornyn wants it both ways - he is happy to undermine immigration reform, but wants to hold himself out as its champion to factions that support reform. (So again, where's Cornyn's bill?)

When the DREAM Act came up for a vote in the Senate, a handful of Republicans would have been able to make the difference. They then would be able to claim that the passage of what appears to be the most popular (and perhaps, by national measures, the only popular) measure of immigration reform to have passed as a bipartisan measure. After all, if immigration reform cannot pass when it includes the DREAM Act, what are the odds that the next immigration bill would pass if it were off the table? Talk about having your cake and eating it, too.

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