We know you guys have plenty of questions that need to be answered regarding President Barack Obama’s new DREAM relief policy, and we’ll be doing our best to get you that information as it comes our way. That said, here is a four-pager that we received late yesterday –
FAQ on Obama’s New DREAM Relief Policy From United We DREAM and National Immigration Law Center by Mahwish Khan on 06/20/12 at 5:07 pm
Romney at the NALEO Conference Tomorrow: Will He or Won’t He Discuss Immigration? by Mahwish Khan on 06/20/12 at 4:06 pm
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will speak at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference tomorrow. Since Mitt Romney has refused to discuss immigration in front of Latino audiences or to respond directly to the news of the DREAMer protections announced last Friday, this event is highly anticipated.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated yesterday that Republicans across the country are waiting on Romney to announce his position on President Obama’s new action.
Today, Romney’s campaign abruptly ended a press call because all the questions were about immigration, prompting a Business Insider headline, “Mitt Romney Is Terrified Of Talking About Immigration.”
Here are some of the key questions we have for Romney, heading into tomorrow’s speech:
- If elected President, would he keep or repeal President Obama’s new DREAMer protection policy? Romney has to address whether he would or would not rescind the DREAMer protection order as President. He has thus far refused to provide an answer, ducking the question on Friday and on “Face the Nation” last Sunday. It will not be enough if Romney hides behind process arguments that focus on the legality of President Obama’s announcement (an inadequate line of argument to begin with) or if Romney engages in revisionist history and pretends a legislative path forward to protect DREAMers was viable this year. Instead, it means a direct answer about whether a President Romney would rescind the policy or not, and what plan he does support to address the status of DREAMers.
- Does he know how to say the word “immigration”? In recent appearances in front of Latino audiences, Romney has avoided discussing immigration. Romney did not mention “immigration” or “the DREAM Act” a single time in his speech before the Latino Coalition in late May. In early June, at a speech at a Hispanic-owned business in El Paso, TX, Romney similarly avoidedimmigration and focused solely on the economy. Now that the stakes are raised and the immigration issue is front and center in the public and media consciousness, it will be that much more difficult for the campaign to engage in their carefully-calibrated three-step Latino voter strategy that involves Romney avoiding the issue. Again, it’s not that Latino voters are single issue voters who only care about immigration – in fact, the economy and jobs remain the top voting issues for most Latinos. But immigration is a personal and defining issue for many Latino voters, and Latino voter engagement and mobilization will be a key factor in determining the outcome of the 2012 election.
- Does he stand by his hardline immigration comments from the primary season? We hope Romney will address – or be asked – whether if elected President he still plans to veto the DREAM Act; encourage laws like Arizona’s “show me your papers” SB 1070; and propose “self-deportation” policy for the entire nation. Latino voters need to know.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Romney has to say something about immigration at the NALEO conference tomorrow. But what? If he says what he said in the primaries he’ll be booed. If he pulls out his etch-a-sketch the far right will be apoplectic. And if he dodges the issue he will raise questions about whether he has the chops to be president. He’s painted himself into a corner and by ducking the issue this week he has only raised the stakes of his speech at NALEO. Given the importance of the Hispanic vote in this election, the fate of his candidacy could hang in the balance.
UPDATED: Undocumented Young Leaders Celebrate Obama’s DREAM Relief Announcement, Launch New Education Campaign by Van Le on 06/20/12 at 3:33 pm
This afternoon, at a press conference just steps from the White House, over 40 leaders of the United We Dream Network, donning graduation caps and holding banners celebrating “El Poder de Nuestro Pueblo” (the power of our community) and declaring their “Right to Dream,” will announce a massive public education campaign to ensure that the Latino and immigrant communities are energized and ready to fight for the full implementation of President Obama’s Friday announcement.
Here’s the video from the event. We also livetweeted:
The event featured comments from Richard Trumka, President of AFL-CIO; Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of the United We DREAM Network; Gaby Pacheco of United We DREAM; Erika Andiola of United We DREAM; Neidi Dominguez from DREAM Team LA; and Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder of Define American.
While the DREAMers, speakers, and supporters were jubilant about the still-recent news that the Obama administration will no longer deport DREAM Act-eligible youth, they stressed the magnitude of the education campaign they are beginning and all the work the movement has left to do. Obama’s announcement is expected to affect around 800,000 DREAMers, many of whom have questions about whether they are eligible and how to apply.
“From Monday to today,” Gaby said during her speech, “we’ve had 5000 people come to our website [www.unitedwedream.org] looking for answers. We’ve trained 2000 people to go out into their communities and answer questions. We have 60 town halls scheduled in states all over the nation. This is going to be a massive education campaign.”
As Erika said, “President Obama has given us an answer that the other side hasn’t been answering: what they want to do with us. Tomorrow at NALEO, we need Mitt Romney to come out and say something.”
Jon Stewart vs. the GOP on President Obama’s Deportation Announcement by Van Le on 06/20/12 at 10:12 am
Ignoring Reality, Boehner Has the Audacity to Blame Obama for Failing to Pass DREAM by Mahwish Khan on 06/20/12 at 9:36 am
Lamar Smith, Elton Gallegly and Steve King.
So when Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) started making noise about introducing a DREAM-less version of the DREAM Act this year, Boehner shot down its chances in the House:
House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said “it would be difficult at best” to pass Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act in Congress, lowering expectations for a policy proposal some have said could help the GOP make inroads with Latinos.
“There’s always hope,” Boehner told reporters, adding that he spoke with Rubio about the proposal and “found it of interest.”
“But the problem with this issue is that we’re operating in a very hostile political environment,” the GOP leader said. “And to deal with a very difficult issue like this, I think it would be difficult at best.”
Ignoring that, yesterday Speaker Boehner had the audacity to blame President Obama for the lack of progress on immigration reform:
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s policy change on immigration makes it less likely that Congress will be able to reach a bipartisan, final solution on the matter — a curious claim given that Boehner snuffed out that possibility months ago.
“It puts everyone in a difficult position,” Boehner said of Obama’s policy change, during a scrum with reporters. “I think we all have concerns for those who are caught in this trap, who through no fault of their own are here. But the president’s actions are going to make it much more difficult for us to work in a bipartisan way to get to a permanent solution.”
Hmmm. Who exactly is making it “difficult” to pass this type of legislation? President Obama? Or House Republicans like Rep. Steve King (IA)?
Not everyone is in a “difficult position” here. Certainly, the DREAMers who will benefit from this move are better off today than they were last Thursday. But Boehner is. Mitt Romney is. And according to Politico, so is the GOP:
Republicans are bobbing, ducking and weaving around President Barack Obama’s move to allow hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants to stay in the country, fearing a lose-lose proposition no matter how they weigh in on the policy shift.
Boehner sure is bobbing, ducking and weaving — and it’s really pathetic. What’s more, the GOP created this mess for themselves. As Ezra Klein pointed out this week, no so long ago, the DREAM Act was bipartisan:
In 2001, Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act – better known as the DREAM Act — into the Senate. The legislation would’ve made it possible for the children of undocumented immigrants to gain permanent residency if they stayed out of trouble and went to school or joined the military. The idea was that we shouldn’t make kids pay for the migration decisions of their parents, and we shouldn’t deny our economy skilled workers we’ve already paid to educate or our military eager recruits who want to defend the country they’ve grown up in.
Hatch’s legislation quickly proved popular with his Republican colleagues. His initial cosponsors included Sens. Sam Brownback, Larry Craig, Mike DeWine, Chuck Grassley, and Richard Lugar. When Hatchreintroduced the bill in 2003, Sens. Lincoln Chaffee, Susan Collins, Norm Coleman, Mike Crapo, Peter Fitzgerald, Chuck Hagel, John McCain and Ben Nighthorse Campbell joined the list of co-sponsors. The legislation cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee with ease: The final tally was 16-3, with seven of the 10 Republicans voting in favor.
If some of those GOP Senators who used to support DREAM voted for it in December of 2010, the bill would have passed and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. But Republicans on Capitol Hill abandoned the DREAM and let the hard-core nativist wing of their party (led by personalities like Rep. Smith, Rep. King, Kris Kobach, Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio) take over.
Boehner has been reduced to blaming Obama for the failure to move DREAM, which has no basis in reality.
Last week’s move by President Obama created a crisis for the GOP of their own making. Politico’s Roger Simon called Obama’s action “downright brilliant.” Simon wrote:
So do a checklist on the new Obama policy:
Good for a limited number of hardworking, honest immigrants? Check.
Good for America because it will bring in more taxes? Check.
Good for America because it will increase security? Check.
Good for Obama politically? Check.
Good because it shows that a do-nothing Congress is a Congress that this nation can do without? Hooray!
No wonder Boehner has resorted to rewriting history.
Cross-posted at Daily Kos.
Americans like Obama’s DREAM Relief; Does Mitt? by Pili Tobar on 06/19/12 at 2:19 pm
New polling shows that the general public, including Latinos and independent voters, are broadly supportive of President Obama’s decision to grant hundreds of thousands of DREAM Act youth relief from deportation. Yet while the American public has voiced its support, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney continues to avoid the question. Both after the President’s announcement last Friday and on “Face the Nation” on CBS News this past Sunday, Mitt Romney was asked direct questions and refused to provide direct answers as to whether he would or would not repeal Obama’s executive action if he were to become president.
Below is a recap of recent polling on the President’s announcement, which shows that unlike Mitt Romney, the public has a clear – and favorable – position on protecting DREAMers:
- Bloomberg Polling Finds Public Supports DREAMer Protections By 2:1 Margin: Selzer & Co. conducted a poll of likely voters for Bloomberg News that found that by a 64-30% margin, voters support President Obama’s new policy that says DREAMers will be eligible for deferred action and work permits. Likely independent voters support the policy by a 66-26% margin. Among self-identified Democrats, 86% support the policy, while Republicans oppose it 56%-36%.
- New Jersey Voters Overwhelmingly Support Provisions of the DREAM Act: Rutgers-Eagleton conducted a recent poll of New Jersey residents to gauge support for the DREAM Act, finding overwhelming, 80% support. After hearing details about the DREAM Act, about 40% of New Jersey residents said they “strongly” supported the bill, and another 40% said they supported it “somewhat.” Ten percent said they were somewhat opposed to the bill, and only 8% said they were strongly opposed. As Politicker NJ wrote in light of the poll and the President’s announcement on DREAMer protections, “While the poll was taken two weeks before Obama’s announcement, the findings suggest that his decision is likely to be popular in New Jersey.”
- Latino Voters Supportive of Policy, More Enthusiastic About Obama After Announcement: New polling from Latino Decisions found that Latino voters in five battleground states broadly favor the policy change and are more enthusiastic about supporting the President because of this bold action. As Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions wrote in his analysis of the poll findings, “When asked how they felt about Obama’s action that would halt deportations and provide work permits to undocumented immigrant youth who attend college or serve in the military, 49% of Latino voters said it would make them more enthusiastic about Obama, compared to 14% who were less enthusiastic, a net enthusiasm advantage of +35 points.”
- Latino Voters Less Likely to Support Romney After Learning of His Immigration Stance: The Latino Decisions polling also found that Mitt Romney’s immigration policies and rhetoric have alienated Latino voters. As Barreto wrote, “In contrast to these recent statements by Obama, the survey also tested enthusiasm towards policy statements by Mitt Romney on immigration. Respondents were asked whether Romney’s statements calling on undocumented immigrants to self-deport back to their ‘home’ countries, and to make immigration laws in Arizona a model for the nation, made them more or less enthusiastic about Romney. Among Latino registered voters in five key battleground states, 10% said the Romney statements made them more enthusiastic, while 59% said the statements made them less enthusiastic about Romney, a net enthusiasm deficit of -49 points.”
- Gallup Finds American Public More Positive on Immigration: Between June 7 and 10, Gallupconducted a poll of adults nationwide that found that the American public is increasingly moving away from hardline immigration positions. Asked whether immigration was, on the whole, a good thing or a bad thing for the United States, 66% of Americans said it was a good thing, with 29% saying it was generally bad. These numbers stand in stark contrast to the 52% of Americans in 2002 who said immigration was a good thing and the 42% who said it was bad. Additionally, a plurality of Americans say the priority of U.S. immigration policy should be dealing with those immigrants who are already here—not waiting until the border is secured.When asked to choose what the “main focus of the U.S. government should be in dealing with the issue of illegal immigration,” 55% said that the priority should be dealing with those immigrants who are already here, while 41% said that securing the border needed to be taken care of first. This is a reversal from past Gallup polling in 2010 and 2011; in 2011, 55% of Americans believed that securing the border ought to be the first priority, while only 43% believed it was more urgent to deal with those immigrants already here. While most people aren’t surprised to hear that a majority of Latino voters support comprehensive immigration reform, the views of the general public are often completely misunderstood. As we’ve noted previously, polls that offer three options (including the both/and option) typically show minority support for the hardline position.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director here at America’s Voice:
The American people realize that the President’s action is the right thing to do, yet Mitt Romney’s silence is deafening. Romney is clearly caught between a nativist rock and a demographic hard place. Given his upcoming speech at the National Association of Latino Appointed and Elected Officials conference this Thursday, we will be watching to see if Romney continues to avoid the issue, continues his hard line stance or pulls out his etch-a-sketch. We can hardly wait.
Cross-posted at Daily Kos.