Wednesday, December 22, 2010

History, students, Tennesseans take note of $2.3 billion decision on DREAM

The DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives on December 8, 2010 thanks in part to the votes of four Tennesseans:
  • Rep. Jim Cooper
  • Rep. Lincoln Davis
  • Rep. Bart Gordon, and
  • Rep. John Tanner
On December 18, the Senate refused to even vote on the merits of the DREAM Act, thanks in part to the votes of both Tennesseans there.

The DREAM Act would have allowed young Americans to fully participate in their communities and give back to their country, and it would have represented a net gain for the nation of $2.3 billion in revenue in the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Over the last few weeks, through events like food drives, blood donation and check delivery, immigrant youth leaders in Nashville and throughout the nation have been raising awareness of their importance to the fabric of this nation, as givers and caretakers in their community, as productive participators and leaders with a desire to serve and give back, and as financial contributors and generators of prosperity. Their potential $2.3 billion boost to the economy was embodied in a check that the Nashville DREAM Act Committee presented to the public on December 7.

Representatives Cooper, Davis, Gordon, and Tanner cashed that check.

Our U.S. Senators threw it away.

The following is the reaction of Stephen Fotopulos, Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:
Senators Corker and Alexander have failed a critical test of leadership today and placed themselves squarely on the wrong side of history. Today’s vote was extremely disappointing, and we are heartbroken for all the young people who have poured their hearts, minds, and bodies into this campaign only to be abandoned by those who represent us in the Senate. At the same time, this is just the beginning of the next chapter of our struggle, and none of us will rest until the nation’s immigration laws reflect basic American principles of justice and fairness.
This following is the reaction of Raquel Flores, a student and leader of the Tennessee DREAM Act Committee:
To Senator Corker and Senator Alexander, we would like to say that we will remember today’s vote for the rest of our lives. You will not forget us, because we will not stop fighting for justice. To our fellow Tennesseans, we would like to say that we are your brothers and sisters, we are your children and we are Americans. We are the same as you and we invite you to join us in this struggle.

We are deeply grateful to those leaders in the US House and Senate who brought the DREAM Act to the floor and demonstrated courage in their support of it. We also join in celebrating the victory for our gay brothers and sisters, who are closer to being able to serve proudly in the US military without being forced to live the lie of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’ There are many forms of oppression, and we turn our anger today into steadfast determination to end them all.

We will keep on serving the country as engaged, active citizens, even as we wait for our citizenship to be recognized and valued. We, the members of the Tennessee DREAM Act Committee, will not give up. We are stronger and more united than ever, both in Tennessee and around the nation. We will continue to fight for the dreams of all and we will win.

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