The DREAM Act is dead, Long live the DREAM Act!

The failure in the Senate to approve the DREAM Act will not taint the massive effort made by thousands of students of across the country to gain a path to citizenship.

As 2010 winds down, we have a chance to remember the sacrifices and demonstrations these young women and men went through in trying to correct an archaic system that does not bear them in mind.

While Democrats and their organizations point fingers at Republicans for their hate rhetoric and fear mongering, the Dreamers remind us that five Democrats also voted against “cloture” to bring the bill to a final vote.

At a recent press conference President Barack Obama came out and said, “my biggest disappointment was this DREAM Act vote.” He indicated that his administration will push again for the DREAM Act, but with a Republican-controlled House and less seats in the Senate, the future of the DREAM Act seems grim.

Yet the hope lies in the organizing these students and their supporters did. Without the money and power of big corporations to lobby for their interests and their shareholders, the Dreamers have taught the American public a lesson on fighting for equality.

After following the developments that lead to the failed vote on Saturday, one thing remains clear: Republicans will try to bring hell to immigrants as soon as they start running the House and it is only up to the grassroots movements to fight back.

The so-called anti-amnesty groups took credit for the defeat of the bill and seem ready to launch their anti-immigrant offensive come January.

This face-off will acquire a much more local level as many conservative think this is the moment to follow on Arizona’s SB 1070 law and try to mimic and implement it in their localities.

And just as in the DREAM Act debate, the facts will be left aside, lies will be told and our contributions as the new wave of immigrants will be ignored.

If the compelling cases of thousands of Dreamers didn’t move them to vote yes; if the revitalization of cities, neighborhoods and their economies doesn’t mean anything to them, and if the projections that say that one day, a day that is getting closer, minorities will be the majority don’t resonate in their thinking, it must be then that they consider us second-class citizens.

They hit our children this time and that should not go unpunished. If both Democrats and Republicans continue failing the people, it is time for the people to react and take control of their future. The campaign is already on. The Dreamers taught us we shouldn’t be afraid of the enemy, because the enemy is afraid of us.


About Gustavo Martínez Contreras

was born in Texas, brewed in Mexico City, seasoned in the Mexico-United States border, aged walking the streets of Philadelphia. He had a short-lived stint eating grits, fried chicken, and peaches in Atlanta. He later became a béisbol writer for El Diario de Nueva York. He has written about immigrant communities in English, Spanish, and some Spanglish. Although he does not have a shelf full of awards, Gustavo has received thank you notes and hugs from people who have trusted him with their stories. His work has appeared in Voices of New York, El Diario/La Prensa, Dallas’ Al Día, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Philadelphia Weekly, Radio Bilingüe, Latina Lista,, among others. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
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