Words from Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change.
On Saturday, December 18th, the U.S. Senate failed to get the 60 votes necessary to move forward on the DREAM Act, a piece of immigration legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented youth in this country. Where do we go from here?
Saturday’s vote may have been a legislative setback but it was not a defeat for our movement. We won a majority of votes in both the House and the Senate. But because of a Republican filibuster we needed 60 votes to pass DREAM and we fell short.
We thank those who did the right thing and voted for DREAM. But for the majority of Republicans and the handful of Democrats who voted against the best and the brightest of the Latino, Asian and immigrant communities, we know who you are, and we will never forget. Today you told young people who grew up in America, who did nothing wrong and everything right, that their talents and contributions are neither welcome nor respected.
As disappointed as we are in those who slammed the door of opportunity on talented young people who are Americans in all but paperwork, we are buoyed by the nationwide outpouring of support for this cause, the unprecedented mobilization in support of DREAM, and the support from allies from the faith, labor, education, civil rights, military, law enforcement, local elected officials, and business communities.
This mobilization was and is led by the tens of thousands of DREAMers, the brave women and men who organized in their local communities to insist on making their DREAM come true, and by the hundreds who came to Washington DC over the past few months to serve notice that they are going to keep fighting and keep getting stronger until justice is done. In addition, our campaign generated millions of calls and faxes and thousands of local events in every state. This builds on the unprecedented mobilization of immigrant voters in the 2010 election, which resulted in anti-immigrant candidates being defeated and the Democrats maintaining control of the Senate. All of which builds on years of fighting, organizing, mobilizing and educating which is building for our movement political power and policy influence as never before.
Where do we go from here?