Well, not really. She mentioned it in passing, as if it were a mere afterthought. In fact, she discussed it offering no context of just how important the DREAM Act is for Latinos, Asian immigrants, and for many progressives of all races. For those that have been following Project Economic Refugee, we have been tracking how the Rachel Maddow has virtually ignored the DREAM Act news, even going as far as starting this petition asking her to have DREAM Act youth activists on her show.
In essence, Rachel mentioned the DREAM Act in two segments, offering it as an example of Republican hypocrisy because they voted for the DREAM Act to be added to a Defense Authorization bill in the past. Watch:
What’s even more puzzling, is that Rachel featured a video of an impassioned Al Franken talking about his support for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:
Yet, Rachel failed to mention that Senator Al Franken also spoke passionately about his support of the DREAM Act in the same speech (he actually co-sponsored that piece of legislation), even quoting the Bible. Here’s the entire video of Senator Franken’s remarks; to view his statements on the DREAM Act, fast forward to minute 13:18.
Tuesday, Sep 21 | Legislative Session: 111th Congress, 2nd Session (2010)
M. President, Minnesota is what it is today because we welcomed immigrants with open arms. We welcomed the Swedes who first tilled our fields and built our railroads. We welcomed the Norwegians, who thrived in our lumber industry and who founded choirs that remain the best in the world today. We welcomed the Danes who made our state a leader in dairy farming. We welcomed the Germans and the Finns, the Poles and the Czechs.
In fact, from the time we were admitted to the Union in 1858 until 1890, no less than one-third of Minnesotans were born abroad.
Today, most of the people we welcome don’t come from Europe. They don’t speak Swedish or German. They speak Spanish or Hmong or Somali.
And they aren’t a third of our population. Just seven percent of Minnesotans were born abroad. So there are fewer immigrants in Minnesota. But M. President, let me tell you, these folks work just as hard. And they show just as much promise.
And so, M. President, I rise today to speak in support of the DREAM Act. Because just by passing this law, we can do something remarkable to help these Minnesotans–or at least some of them. This is a group of young people who were brought here by their parents. They were raised as Americans, and for the most part, speak English like you and me.
But because their parents made a mistake–because their parents broke the law and entered this country illegally or overstayed a visa-these kids are stuck. They can’t go to college. They can’t get jobs. They can’t join our military. They’re out of luck, and our society is going to pay for it.
The DREAM Act would allow these students to re-enter society. It would allow them to come out of the shadows of society to study or serve in our country’s military.
I want to put faces to the young people of Minnesota who would benefit from the DREAM Act, but I’m going to change their names to protect their identities.
There’s a young man named Daniel. Daniel came to the United States from Colombia when he was 8. He grew up in the suburbs, and ran varsity track and cross country for his high school. Since he couldn’t get a driver’s license, he took a two-hour bus ride every day just to get to class at Normandale Community College. In his second year, Daniel’s father died, leaving Daniel and his mother without any income.
Daniel almost dropped out. But he didn’t. Instead, he became the first member of his family to graduate from college: dual associates degrees in education and computer science-both with honors. Daniel is now at the University of Minnesota. He’s trying to get his Bachelor’s degree. But since he can’t work, he can’t afford to attend school full-time. And so every semester, Daniel saves up all of his money to take just one class. He’s completing his Bachelor’s one class at a time.
There’s another remarkable young Minnesotan, Javier, who came to this country at the age of 15. He enrolled in a St. Paul high school and quickly learned English, and by senior year, was taking advanced placement and college courses, and volunteering at the state capitol. He even started to like the weather.
Today, Javier is an elected leader of student government at a college in our state. He’s become a role model not just for immigrants, but for all fellow students.
And Javier wants to dedicate his career to improving our education system. But because of a decision his parents made, he can’t.
I get letters from students like these all the time. Many of them are just as talented. And all of them ask me for the same thing: the opportunity to work hard for this country. Let me repeat that: they only ask for the opportunity to work hard for this country.
Another young woman wrote to ask me, and I quote: “We do not want welfare or any money, we are not asking for immunity to the law, we are only asking for a chance to come out to the light and live like any other person.”
There are a lot of reasons why we should help them. The first reason is that it’s the smart thing to do. Some of my colleagues have stood here and said they can’t believe that the DREAM Act will be included in the defense authorization bill.
In fact, the Defense Department has supported the DREAM Act since the Bush Administration. This bill is actually a part our nation’s strategic defense plan. It will incentivize and reward students to wear our nation’s uniform-and our nation will be safer because of it.
Here’s another reason why this is smart: we don’t want kids like Javier washing dishes. We don’t want kids like Daniel taking 10 years to get his Bachelor’s degree. We want them studying, contributing to our economy and serving in our military.
But there’s a far more important reason we should pass the DREAM Act, and that’s because it is the right thing to do.
M. President, there’s a passage in Leviticus-a book that appears in both the Old Testament and the Torah, that I think is appropriate here.
Now, Leviticus is a book of laws. It’s said to describe God’s covenant with the Israelites. This is chapter 19, verse 33: “When the foreigner resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the foreigner. The foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the foreigner as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
M. President, these are children, and we need to help them. They’ve learned in our schools, they’ve played with our kids, and they want to serve our country. We just need to give them a chance.
Thank you, M. President.
So what’s the deal Rachel? Was the DREAM Act too large of a narrative for you to cover? Did you think that it would not appeal to your target audience? What was the holdup? You do know that many Latinos (gay and straight) watch you and support the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell right? Or has a segment on the DREAM Act been on the works all this time and will be airing soon on your show? I really hope that the latter is the case!