Bipartisanship Support Sought by “Conservatives for the DREAM Act”

November 11, 2010

The bipartisan Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) has partnered with Somos Republican, a network of Hispanic Republican groups headquartered in Arizona, in an effort to gain bipartisan support for the passage of the DREAM Act.  The project “Conservatives for the DREAM” includes the creation of a website, a series of town halls in Republican districts, and a billboard to generate discussion of the DREAM Act within conservative, specifically Republican, communities.

Dulce Matuz, political and policy adviser for the ADAC, states that “the DREAM Act began as bipartisan legislation, if it is to pass this year we must keep that bipartisan spirit alive.”  Bipartisanship will be needed if the DREAM Act is put for a vote.  Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid had stated that he will put the DREAM Act in the Senate floor but that he will need a handful of Republican votes.

Somos Republicans founder DeeDee Blasé joined the project to garner enough support in conservative communities in order to acquire the needed Republican votes.  “As a conservative organization, we believe the DREAM Act does not grant young people any entitlements, but rather an earned legalization through hard work, discipline, and dedication to our great nation” says Blasé.

The ADACs efforts to reach across the aisle have received negative reactions within the traditionally-liberal DREAM Act base of supporters.  “I support the DREAM Act but we shouldn’t pretend like the Republican party cares about immigrants, not after all that is going on in Arizona” states Joel Guerrero, advocate for the DREAM Act.  Jose Patino, member of the ADAC, has a different view of the project, stating “our efforts to communicate with the Republican Party lately go beyond the need for congressional votes.  We are all Americans, we are all human, and we all believe in American values.  If we are to create any long-term change we need to get out of our comfort zone and talk to each other.”

Matuz says “we need Republican votes now to pass the DREAM Act and we need Republican support later to change the immoral conditions and ineffective laws that irresponsible politicians have created.”

“We need Republican leadership that is willing to listen to what Republicans support” states Matuz.  Republican Senator John McCain has long-time been considered a Republican leader in this issue.  Senator McCain has sponsored the DREAM Act in the past but walked out of a vote in 2007.  His current position is to secure the border first before dealing with any prospects of legalization for some of the immigrants here. A June 2010 FIRSTFOCUS report indicated that 70% of the people surveyed supported the DREAM Act, with 60% of the Republican participants supporting it.  Rasmussen Poll showed that 78% of Americans support undocumented students legalizing through military service.

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has also recently promised to put the DREAM Act up for a vote during the lame duck session.  The expected DREAM Act vote in the Senate and in the House will show whether there are any Republicans in Congress that are willing to drop the enforcement-only approach and work towards solving one of our nation’s toughest challenges in a more reasonable manner.  For many, the DREAM Act is the first step.


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