The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls (202) 261-2388

Former GOP Governor, Regent University President, Other Conservatives Highlight Need for DREAM Act

Congress Has Plenty of Time to Act on DREAM, Other Issues


An escalating number of conservative voices speaking out for the DREAM Act underscores the legislation's bipartisan pedigree and its importance for future U.S. competitiveness. Through key editorials in conservative outlets and new Republicans and conservatives calling for its passage, the louder drumbeat signals that momentum is building on behalf of DREAM.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "Voters are eager to see politicians in Washington work together to pass exactly this type of practical legislation. This bill is traditionally bipartisan in nature, broadly popular with all Americans, and a common sense measure to begin to fix our broken immigration system. This is a well-known issue to members of Congress and could pass in minutes if given the chance -- leaving plenty of time for other issues to be debated and enacted."

Among the key developments on behalf of DREAM:

* Former Illinois Republican Governor Jim Edgar voiced his support for DREAM in an op-ed in Sunday's Chicago Tribune, writing that "A rational approach to comprehensive immigration reform should begin with the young people who were brought here as babies, toddlers and adolescents...A nation as kind as ours should not turn its back on them. Congress needs to support the sensible, humane approach embodied in legislation known as the Dream Act. The measure charts a rigorous path that undocumented youths must negotiate to gain legal status and qualify for citizenship, and supporting it would be both good government and good politics."

* The DREAM Act would be a boon to future U.S. educational progress and economic competitiveness - a point underscored by the legislation's strong support from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez, both of whom were on a press call today also featuring conservative leaders highlighting the moral reasons to support DREAM. Also speaking on the call with Secretary Duncan and Secretary Gutierrez were Carlos Campo, President of Regent University; Rev. Troy Jackson, Senior Pastor, University Christian Church, Cincinnati, OH; and Juan Hernandez, the founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

* The Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial, "Restrictionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards people who entered the country illegally. But the bill targets individuals brought here by their parents as children. What is to be gained by holding otherwise law-abiding young people, who had no say in coming to this country, responsible for the illegal actions of others? The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded." The Journal's editorial also took on the argument espoused by Lamar Smith that Republicans do not have a Latino voter problem due to their immigration stance. In contrast, their editorial noted the political necessity of the Republicans supporting DREAM, writing, "If Republicans hope to limit President Obama to one term, they'll need to win in Mountain West states Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico with fast-growing Hispanic populations. The Dream Act is an opportunity for the GOP to send a welcoming signal to these voters. More important, it would do right by undocumented youths who did nothing to deserve their current vulnerability to deportation."

* The Economist voiced its support for DREAM by editorializing, "It is a testament to just how nasty the immigration debate has become that a measure that would bring the fearful out of the shadows, encourage tertiary education in a section of the workforce that needs more of it and supply the undermanned army with recruits has gone nowhere."

Said Sharry, "The DREAM debate is a litmus test for what type of nation we want to be, and it's heartening to see such a wide array of Republican and conservative voices call for DREAM's passage and reject the cries for inaction that some Republicans are beginning to float."

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.