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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano discussed the DREAM Act when answering a question from Illinois Senator Richard Durbin:

DURBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Madam Secretary, thanks for being here. As a former governor of a border state, the story I'm about to tell you may sound familiar.

Two weeks ago, I had a meeting in Chicago with student from one of our leading high schools. I met a young woman who was valedictorian of her class and was on a winning team in a science competition who had been accepted at an Ivy League university and was looking forward to pursuing a degree in biology which may lead to medical research or becoming a medical doctor.

But she had a problem. She same to the United States when she was two years old. She was brought by her parents from Mexico. Her parents sold corn on the street corners. And she grew up here. She speaks perfect English. She's never known another country in her entire life. And she's undocumented.

I've introduced a bill for eight years now called the Dream Act. My co-sponsors this year include Senators Lugar and Menendez. And it says, for young Americans -- or young people living in America in her circumstance, that they be given a chance through either two years of service in the military or the completion of two years of college, to move toward legal status. I'm hoping, praying, for so many young people who are counting on this that we will have a chance to consider and pass that this year.

Could you tell me your opinion of the Dream Act?

NAPOLITANO: Yes, Senator.

As a governor of a border state, this is one of -- this is one of those areas where everyone wants the immigration law enforced. We must enforce it. It's part of our national sovereignty, among other things.
On the other hand, we have to have the ability to deal with some of the human issues that arise here. And the one that you have identified is one of the most acute.

I supported the Dream Act when I was governor. I support it now. One of the most moving things I've been privileged to do as secretary is to administer the oath of citizenship to men and women in our military who have been serving in Iraq, who were not citizens, who have elected to become citizen. In a way, it kind of mirrors what you're talking about in the Dream Act.

But it seems to me that the Dream Act is a good piece of legislation and a good idea.


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  1. Geroge Chell's Avatar
    Durbin is bizarre. He likes the Dream Act. But, he does not like EMB.
  2. Another voice's Avatar
    What is the hold up on this, there sems to be broad support for this bill from everyone???
  3. AD's Avatar

    I believe this is what's happening. Many of the senators and congressmen rely on their staff members for extensive advice. Generally Politicians take advice and then do what is politically correct for them and ensure that they get re elected. After all, re election is the thing for politicians right? Some times I feel that there is some one in his office who is behind Durbin's stand on EB.

    Durbin is an OK dude but seems to be some one who will argue that that the rabbit he has held on to has 3 legs, even though all of us can blatantly see that it has 4 legs. Such bigotry is substantiated by these staff members who have firm opinions. I feel sorry for Durbin. I was in one Republican office and the LD said the same thing. Durbin is one bizzare guy. He even gave Durbin credit for his passion on DREAM but could not even understand how come he is sold against the Employment based immigration. Forget EB, He does not even care for the kids who have been here legally and keep on paying out of state tuition as they watch their parents stand in line for GC and get it when they are 50.

    Another side of me tells me he is not bizzare, he is simply smart. He is getting the Hispanic vote, thats it. IL has most number of undocumented after CA,TX,FL right? He is balancing for his middle class white votes by rallying against EB.

    B T W Who cares if J N likes the DREAM act or not? I don't.
  4. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "He is balancing for his middle class white votes by rallying against EB."

    99.9% of middle class white voters have no idea what "EB" is. Seriously. I also think that 95% of them are pro-immigration for educated people. If 0.1% of them are thick, loud, and obnoxious guilders, it does not say anything about the rest.
  5. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "IL has most number of undocumented after CA,TX,FL right?"

    I would not think so. AZ and NY should be next. Then, probably MA or CO. At any rate, the number of illegals does not matter - they can't vote, and even if legalized, not for another 10 years, so not much help to Durbin, anyway - what matters is the percentage (and not the absolute number) of Hispanic US citizens. Not sure IL is in the top 5.
  6. AD's Avatar

    You are right in that 99% of middle class/middle age white voters do not have any idea about EB. So it must have to be some thing else other than just skin worship. When I said the most number of undocumented, I implied that the state already has a large number of hispanics who are already USC. I should have been clear.

    Probably he is just a bigot

  7. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "So it must have to be some thing else other than just skin worship." I agree with that. I truly don't think Durbin is driven by the xenophobia. In my opinion, somebody is messing with his head. Or maybe he is just doing it for purely political reasons.
  8. The Dirt on Durbin's Avatar
    1. Durbin was once a great friend of the Indian Community in IL. He regularly spoke at the Indian Physicians meetings among many others. many years ago during a big tort reform battle he had a falling out with the Indian docs. They stood firm for tort reform and he was equally sold to the trial lawyers. Inside sources state that there was even a shouting match.
    Since then he harbors serious grudges. Unfortunately this may be the root of his "anti EB" fervor. He clearly does not believe that educated immigrants bring anything to the table that aids his interests.

    2. Durbin was greatly influenced by IEEE propoganda against EB and H1B. They were instrumental in bringing him and Grassley together. In the years that passed, IEEE has moderated its stand somewhat and at one point they even worked with a prominent EB lobby group to try forging a concensus bill between H1B reform (Durbin-Grassley) and EB reform. However Durbin had not moved on and even IEEE found it impossible to budge him.

    Last year Durbin threatened to derail all EB bills if DREAM was not passed. But it was no quid pro quo. He did not promise support or help or even commit to not opposing the EB bills in return for DREAM's passage. All he would commit was to was "we'll see after DREAM passes. And of course, it did not.

    One can cure ignorance but not blind prejudice or vindictiveness.
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