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Marielena Hincapié

Marielena Hincapié

Posted: November 24, 2010 05:50 PM

Senator Sessions (R-AL) has hit a new low this week by releasing a misleading advocacy piece on the DREAM Act. Rather than engage in honest debate about the this legislation designed to provide young people who have been here since childhood with a path to citizenship if they attend college or enlist in the military, Sessions resorted to fear mongering antics and half baked "research" to drown out support. Let me set the record straight:

The DREAM Act will benefit a small group of highly educated, highly trained individuals. Contrary to what Senator Sessions and his conservative echo chamber would have you think, the DREAM Act has been estimated to only impact about 800,000 young people. Furthermore, claims that these people will be able to sponsor distant relatives -- like uncles or cousins -- are absurd at best and a clear lie at worst. As Sessions should know all too well, immigration law currently has decades-long waiting lists for primary relatives, and there is no line for extended members of the family such as uncles and cousins.

Young men and women applying for legal status under the DREAM Act must prove that they are in good moral standing. Fears that your neighborhood ax murderer will gain legal status through the DREAM Act might make for a fine horror movie plot. However, like most horror films, the idea that criminals will receive any sort of safe harbor through the DREAM Act is pure fiction.

Want more? Several groups, including my own, have outlined exactly what the DREAM Act will do.

Republicans should ask themselves whether they want the loudest anti-immigrant voices to be the face of immigration of their party. Barrels of ink may have been spilled over the Tea Party, but Latino voter participation in the 2010 elections was far more telling: in the West, Republicans who used fear mongering tactics on immigration lost, and candidates who put forth ideas to move us forward together prevailed.

With 70 percent of the public in support of the DREAM Act, supporting this sound legislation should be a political no-brainer. Republicans with an eye on 2012 and beyond should think hard about whether their penny-wise but pound-foolish scare tactics will ultimately cause their demise among growing voting groups.