It may feel like we're in that end-of-the-year lull, enhanced by lingering effects of too many turkey sandwiches and the ensuing tryptophanic trances, but this is, in fact, an essential time for Denver Democrats to stand up for our principles and act.
Please help us support a path to citizenship for undocumented youth through the DREAM Act.
We expect a vote on the DREAM Act to come soon in the U.S. House of Representatives, and even though our "lame-duck" Democratic majority is leading the charge, the vote will be close. This is a critical time for activists and constituents to let our representatives know where we stand.
The DREAM act provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth who serve in the military or work toward a college degree. It is an extension of our heritage as Americans, honoring fairness and the effort to turn hard work into citizenship. As recent articles in the Washington Post and New York Times have spelled out, the proposal legislation was drafted with Republican support, and it is even endorsed by the Pentagon, which relies on its promise as a recruiting tool.
More importantly, however, the act puts our Democratic values into action, helping young people who want to contribute to our society find a way to overcome the obstacles in their way and become productive members and full participants in our society.
As Democrats, we understand the DREAM Act is a compassionate, humane effort to find solutions for a broken immigration system. Latinos voted in record numbers over the last two elections, helping Denver Democrats win big majorities in 2008 and ensuring that Colorado kept our U.S. Senate blue by turning out for Michael Bennet in 2010. We are preparing to stand strong against Arizona-style immigration laws that will be introduced in the 2011 legislative session, but getting activists out to push for the DREAM Act's passage is the critical call to action we can answer right now.
Representative Diana DeGette is a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, but it doesn't hurt to write her and let her know you've got her back. Senators Udall and Bennet may need even more encouragement to bolster their support of this vital legislation, but you can extend your influence by reaching out to your friends who live in Congressional districts where the support may not be so strong and encouraging them to contact their representatives.
This may be the best chance we've got in the immediate future to push through this legislation, and we can't let the opportunity pass. Don't accept the divisive myth that this breaks down on pure partisan lines--56% of Republicans supported the legalization of most unauthorized immigrants in a poll earlier this summer, and Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Republican from Florida, urged the DREAM Act's passage by making the point that "deserving students are being punished for decisions not made by them."
You can contact Representative DeGette at firstname.lastname@example.org, your can contact Senator Udall at email@example.com, and you can contact Senator Bennet through his website at www.bennet.senate.gov/contact. You can also use Organizing for America's web-tool at www.my.barackobama.com/DreamLetters.
Before you turn to another turkey sandwich, please make a call, write a letter, or send an e-mail to your friends and help mobilize a movement to stand up for the vulnerable and valuable youth that are part of our culture.