The DREAM Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives

This week the U.S. Senate voted on two landmark pieces of legislation: the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT) and the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for young people who came to this country as children.  The repeal of DADT succeeded, while the DREAM Act failed to pass. Gay and lesbian activists and their allies who fought for the repeal of DADT are understandably elated with the overturning of the 17-year-old ban.  But, so far at least, white gay and lesbian progressives have failed to see the DREAM Act as part of the same struggle for human rights.

May Day Immigration Marches, Los Angeles
Creative Commons License photo credit: Salina Canizales

Don’t get me wrong, leading gay and lesbian organizations, such as NGLTF have mentioned both the DREAM Act and DADT – but as separate, single issues.   In separate press releases this week, Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) came out in favor of the repeal of DADT and the DREAM Act.    In contrast, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest (and predominantly white) gay rights organization, has had a lot to say on DADT, but has had very little to say about the DREAM Act.  White gay bloggers like Dan Savage and Joe.My.God. have mentioned the DREAM Act along with DADT, as they have been updating their readers about the lame-duck session of Congress.    The Advocate, a magazine popular with white gays and lesbians, has tons of coverage about the repeal of DADT, but has had only one piece about the immigration (in November) but nothing to date in the archive about the DREAM Act, except as the scheduling of that vote threatened to affect repeal of DADT.  And, perhaps most disappointing for me to see personally as a church-going lesbian, the moderator for my denomination issued a press release that heralded the triumph of this single issue.

What’s the matter with single issue politics?  Isn’t this simply a pragmatic strategy for getting things done in the current political climate?  I don’t think so.  And, neither does Urvashi Vaid.  In a recent speech at the CUNY Graduate Center, Vaid, a longtime activist working at the intersections of LGBT rights and racial justice articulated the dilemma of single-issue gay politics this way:

The key structural reason why neither branch of the LGBT movements has operationalized its stated intersectional politics, is quite simple: the default definition for what “Gay” means has been set by, and remains dominated by, the ideas and experiences of those in our communities who are white and this really has not changed in more than fifty years. Issues, identities, problems that are not “purely” gay – read as affecting white gay men and women – are always defined as not the concern of “our” LGBT movement – they are dismissed as “non-gay” issues, as divisive, as the issues that some ‘other movement’ is more suited to champion. We have our hands full we are told. We need to single-mindedly focus on one thing.

This is an argument that many LGBT liberationists and gay-equality focused activists have made to each other and bought wholesale for decade– without malice, without prejudice – just because there has been an unquestioned assumption that this narrow focus works, that we are getting results because we are making a “gay rights” argument, that this is smart and successful political strategy.

My contention is that it is exactly this narrow and limited focus that is not only causing us to stall in our progress towards formal equality, it is leading us to abandon or ignore large parts of our own communities, with the consequence of making us a weaker movement. The gay-rights focus was historically needed but is a vestigial burden we need to shed. It leads to an unsuccessful political strategy where we try to win on one issue at a time, it narrows our imagination and vision, it does not serve large numbers of our own people, and it feeds the perception that we are generally privileged and powerful, and not in need of civil equality.

What this means right now, at this critical juncture when the repeal of DADT has passed and the DREAM Act hasn’t, is that gay and lesbian activists should be calling for the passage of the DREAM Act and other (even broader) immigration reforms.   I’ve yet to hear one white gay or lesbian activist stand up and say, “Let’s use this momentum from the DADT victory to see the passage of the DREAM Act.”  Not one.   As Vaid said, by focusing on one, single issue at a time, we’re narrowing our imagination and our vision.

Instead of this broadening of vision and building toward a common goal, among white gays and lesbians  there’s a kind of collective “oh, well, the Brown people didn’t get their bill, quelle sad, but we got ours – so let’s celebrate!”  What white gay and lesbian progressives fail to understand is that among those young people hoping to achieve citizenship through the (very restrictive) DREAM Act are gay and lesbian teens.  It’s not that DADT and the DREAM Act are separate issues, they’re part of the same struggle.     It’s just that white gays and lesbians don’t see that.  I hope that changes.


  1. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    and it feeds the perception that we are generally privileged and powerful, and not in need of civil equality.

    Well, personally, it doesn’t feed my perception that they’re not in need of civil equality. Rather, it feeds my perception that they don’t care about the civil equality of others. My perception is that white gays and lesbians, as a collective, don’t care about justice and equality for all. They just want to be treated like white heterosexuals.

    I was stunned that both didn’t pass. I just assumed either they would both pass or neither would pass. When it became obvious that Dems had the votes to pass DADT, I didn’t notice the absence of much discussion of the Dream Act. What makes matters worse is that it’s the fault of Dems that the Dream didn’t pass. If every Dem has voted for it, it would’ve passed.
    Single issue politics may be more efficient in the short term, but it’s not wise strategy if you want fundamental change. Ask so-called Christian conservatives – gays just took one off’em. And while they’ve made it difficult to obtain abortions, they haven’t made it illegal.

    However, most white gays can afford the luxury of lurching from one issue to another. When you’re mobilized around a single issue, once that goal has been met, your organization dissolves. And now that white, open gays can fight for their country, their just about good. There’re a few states that allow gay marriage, so they’re okay on that front. I mean, there’re a few other issues. That’s just my summary of what seems to be most important.

    By contrast, organizations concerned with racial equality don’t have such luxury. They really do have their hands full. They can’t just focus on voting rights or equal pay or this or that. They have to be concerned with the whole breadth of life for people of color. I could be biased, but I fully understand why after addressing education equality, criminal justice, lending practices, housing, juvenile justice, voting rights, etc, gay marriage isn’t a top priority. Notwithstanding the criticism such groups take for being exclusive, and the fact that the NAACP has “climate justice” listed as an issue.

    So, there’s criticism towards such groups for not supporting gay marriage more forcefully. But where’s the criticism for a group that named itself “Human Rights Campaign,” but is exclusively and unashamedly focused on LGBT issues.

    Good post, Jessie. Good question. You’ve brought to my attention yet more ways racism operates, and particularly among white progressives. I’m always happy to learn. Though, I also kinda feel like I’ve just been given bad news! LOL!

    Great post, Jess. Thanks.

  2. marcos

    The US military, while integrated, is the embodiment of racist imperialism. Conditioning immigration reform on military service only outsources the pain to those on the receiving end of US military force. Hint: those people on the receiving end of US imperial military force are rarely white.

    I oppose the notion of nation states, of borders and ofclassifying human beings as illegal. But given that we have borders and nation states and given that our house is on fire right now, that the US is currently in the grips of an increasingly bold corporate coup that is suffocating our democracy, we need to put that fire out before offering accommodation to newcomers and guests.

  3. parkbench

    bullshit, marcos. i was with you until that last sentence. what’s with the sudden hegelian model of politics? what stopped the dream act from going through was pure callousness, not some “easing into stages” process.


    i find it hard to rejoice in DADT. i really am flabbergasted at the amount of folks who are trumpeting it as the ‘next big gay civil rights win’. yes, of course, there are facts on the ground, and this could substantively change many peoples’ lives for the better, etc. etc., but this is far too complacent of an argument. this is the US war machine. why are we excited about this? what’s the point?

    it just seems like such a short-sighted and misplaced investment by gays who will most likely never see the day when they have to show up for military service. i mean seriously, who in their right mind thinks that the HRC really cares about the big picture? have they ever done education/agitation around aggressive recruiting practices in communities of color, specifically latino communities? can you imagine them coupling a campaign to repeal DADT with a counter-military recruitment campaign (the exact same component that I think was missing from our pushing of the DREAM act, to offset the military aspect)? can you imagine any of those privileged suits taking a day out of their lives to fight for such things? let’s be honest. they fought DADT as a symbolic fight and they will continue to do what politicians do–talk as if they can just manipulate whole populations of people into massacring each other.


    • marcos

      The worst part is that, like Starship Troopers, “SERVICE GUARANTEES (full) CITIZENSHIP!” has taken control of our popular movements.

      The LGBT movement has been hijacked by the most conservative A-Gays. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen our movement mired in conservative, divisive campaigns like military and marriage. 1.5% of LGBT CHOOSE to join the military. 15% of LGBT CHOOSE to get married (disclaimer, my partner and I will do the deed for social security when it is stable) yet almost all LGBT MUST compete in the job and housing market.

      Likewise, the immigration movement has been sucked into the same hole. Give us cannon fodder and you get citizenship. The other issue is that university capacity has not kept up with population growth. Getting into college is a dream for many that will never be realized just because of the numbers.

      There was this thing called the draft when I was a kid that scared the shit out of me, especially when they covered the Vietnam war on TV every night, graphically. It is not like the draft is never going to come back given the imperative of the empire for never ending wars. How many gay men will now be pressed into service and how many innocent civilians who have the poor fortune to live where there are natural resources or cheap labor will they kill? Did the proponents of DADT consider that they were buying others who might not have supported their campaign into military service? This is only a win under the most twisted analysis.

      The DREAM act is another of those Democrat Party vehicles that coopt greater struggles into forms amenable to Democrat Party political interests and corporate labor security and profitability. Frankly, so long as immigration reform does not deal with the importing of cheap tech labor from South Asia in the form of H1-B visas, designed to drive down domestic tech wages, then immigration reform has no interest to me as we unemployed domestic techies are dispensable in that calculus.

      Why should we bend over backwards, break into a sweat for a compromised bill if there is no compromise in it for American workers who are hurting?

      Our house is burning down right now, that should command our full attention if we are to have any hope of a democratic politics here moving forward. I don’t like this version of solidarity where there is no sharing of sacrifice and of benefits, and where most all benefits accrue to the very forces that are destroying whatever good is left in American society.

      • marcos

        Oh, yeah, like ENDA was scuttled in 2007 after the HRC wrote a check to the trans community that the Democrats could not cover votewise, funny how the military still sees trans folks as “medically incompatible with service,” yet DADT repeal sailed through without a peep about inclusiveness.

        Solidarity forever!

  4. parkbench

    Again, marcos, I agree with you up until the end of your post.

    I don’t see how you can take all these critical lessons about the failure of the white gay establishment into an argument for “helping American workers first”, as if that is somehow mutually exclusive with fighting for real sustainable immigration reform. Your example of the visas (which, by the way, is most relevant with the H2A and H2B guest worker visas; see should be instructive in this sense: look at the Coalition of Immokalee workers, which has been fighting this issue for a decade or more now, and has gone a long way in fighting for on-the-ground improvement of immigrant laborers’ rights and conditions in the field.

    I’m trying to imagine how you could argue that this is somehow putting “American workers” on hold–the social conditions as they are mean that the majority of workers in Florida tomato fields are latin american immigrants. “Putting on hold” their needs would mean effectively imagining away the problem of structural racism that they face. The whole point is that white workers (with papers, no doubt) have far more access & opportunity than these workers do, several of whom have been found to have been working in conditions of modern day slavery (actual legal language). I also fail to see how improving these conditions wouldn’t also lead to better conditions for “American” workers overall.

    Not to mention how “American” here is being coded as white and somehow not also involving different gradations of access & discrimination within the “American” labor force.

    I get that you voiced this as a critique of the DREAM act, which is valid, but then the place it was coming from seemed to be this far-too-neat delineation of ‘domestic’ concerns vs. ‘other’ concerns. Groups like the CIW, ADP, etc. aren’t just sitting around waiting for the DREAM act to get passed, they are doing real work in the meantime, and have a complex relationship with the bill. That’s the most critical and exciting site of resistance I see today, esp. cause these movements are definitionally intersectional struggles–labor & issues of racial justice & immigration reform are all very key to their platforms. Sure I’d like to see more of a queer & feminist agenda there, too, but this is also a larger conversation, I suppose, of building bridges and allies…

    Maybe I’m not disagreeing with you as much as I think I am, but I felt the need to clarify some of these things because I’m suspicious of over-simplifying the stakes.

  5. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    @ marcos, parkbench, and joyfo – Where have you guys been? I know RR has lots of readers, but sometimes, as a commenter, I feel like I’m monopolizing things! I would dig engaging with you.

    @ marcos and parkbench – Okay. I hear and agree with everything you say when it comes to DADT. I will just point out, though, that throughout US history, the right (if that’s what you call it) to join the military coincides with gaining the full citizenship status. Not that you want ENDA resting on the performance of gays and lesbians in the military, but I’ve read somewhere that only “citizens” are allowed to join an integrated military, be it racial or sexual orientation integration. So, in terms of maintaining the US “empire,” DADT is nothing to celebrate. But in terms of the LGBT community gaining full citizenship, it’s an important development and could even been a step towards ENDA.

    @ marcos – I disagree with your analysis on immigration. College needs to be more accessible, yes. But we don’t need to clamp down on low-wage immigration to fix tech immigration. We just need to address issues in the US tech market. If we’re using the metaphor of the US labor market being a house on fire – I would remind you that part of containing and extinguishing the fire is making sure there’s no risk of it spreading. So even using your metaphor, we can’t just focus on fixing things for US citizens.

    Either you agree with the notion of nation states or you don’t. Either you believe we’re all our brother’s keeper, even those “brothers from another mother” or you don’t. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problems working with the system you have. I’m not a purist. But there’s no question on this issue: either you agree or you don’t.

    I think nation-states at their best should operate simply as a means of managing a community of billions. Even among nomadic tribes, there are general agreements of who has the right to use what resources. In places and times where resources belonged to “the community” and there were no such notion of “personal property,” there were still norms that governed who was responsible for what. Failure to meet ones responsibilities resulted in rejection from the community. We should think of our (post)modern nation-state as simply one form of such community cooperation. In that vein, our responsibilities aren’t limited to those in our US community. As a nation-state, the US is not only a community unto itself, but also a singular member of the global community. As such, we have responsibilities to those outside the boundaries of our nation-state as much as to those inside.

    Besides, the problem isn’t the immigrants, whether they’re undocumented worker and H1-B techies. The problem are those people in the top 1% who account for 24% of the nation’s incomes and nearly 40% of the nation’s accumulated wealth. Mind you now, the US makes up hardly 5% of the world’s population but holds 39% of the world’s wealth. Maybe you don’t have access to your share of income and/or wealth; but it’s not immigrants who’re stealing your share. If the US house is own fire, it’s our wealthiest who have turned off the water supply and are sitting safely in a downstairs panic room. Immigrants aren’t your problem.

    • marcos

      LGBT already enjoy most all of the full rights of citizenship, access to education and public facilities, the ability to vote, to engage in commerce. This is why our liberation struggle is different in character than that of African Americans. Our needs are different because our histories and oppressions are different. Thus, the remedies will differ commensurately.

      The US military is a criminal enterprise run by sociopaths on behalf of kleptocrats. At some level, even the grunts are voluntary parties to these crimes. Citizenship cannot be predicated upon the ability to participate in organized crime, crimes against humanity, war crimes, in any progressive or liberal world view. Perhaps that worked in the Roman Empire, but now that sends me to the vomitorium. And the tiny minority of conservative homosexuals who pushed DADT now have the blood of all of those gay men who did not support DADT on their hands the next time a draft is called up.

      Either we all join together or you’re going to find that you come up short on your next immigration reform coalition as well. The corporation-latino nexus was not sufficient to overcome xenophobia and racism. And DREAM did not really address low wage workers anyway, it just gave undocumented kids a path to citizen ship that ran through either the criminal military or dwindling, more expensive college seats financed with a big dollop of debt.

      We’ve seen the fate of a bill that involves marginal immigration reform that does not include fixing any immigration problems that impact citizen working folks who are being screwed by corporate-friendly immigration policies. Perhaps building a broader coalition might increase the chances for whatever comes next.

      I think that focusing the discussion on immigration that DOES put American citizens out of work would mesh well with one that talks about helping folks who do work that does not put citizens out of work, and without whom the cost of most goods and services would skyrocket. The issue of college scarcity, population rising faster than the number of seats, needs to be addressed lest the issue be framed as one of giving scarce slots to non citizens when citizens go wanting. Whether or not you agree with that, it is a live political issue.

      Nation states exist, so I believe in them. I don’t support that notion of organization philosophically so that remains my compass point. But since nation states are the framework for politics, we’ve got to operate within it for the time being. In this twisted democracy, it is the citizens who vote, so any viable electoral calculus in these times is going to have to cast the widest net amongst voters and citizens because that is where the political power rests.

      The reason why the US is so stratified internally and why the US domestic consumption is such a large share of global product is because the dollar economy and US military coerce the production of inexpensive resources from the global south. Just like Obama demonstrated that all politicians are green like money on the inside, I’m not sure that undocumented immigrant youth wearing the US military uniform is a step forward, given the criminal nature of the US military.

      The people who benefit from the economy and military are the ones who write the laws which criminalize farm workers and invite South Asian techies in. See UC Davis professor Norm Matloff’s H1-B page for an in depth discussion:

      One way to go after the 1% is to cut off their supply of cheap labor where there is competition with citizens and to keep those dollars in the US paying good middle class wages to folks in whom society has an investment.

      I didn’t oppose DREAM, but am disappointed that the immigrant rights community or their allies in organized labor did not stand in solidarity with those of us on the receiving end of corporate immigration policy and that the military was a conduit to citizenship due to the criminal nature of the enterprise. So I didn’t break out into a sweat for it either. Perhaps next time if there is solidarity shown, if immigration reform advocates side with American workers instead of corporations salivating for secure cheap labor, I might.

      • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

        The income for bottom 95% does need to rise. I absolutely agree with that. And if you’re arguing for the desolution of the military industrial complex, I agree with that, too. I just don’t think we have to improve things for the bottom 95% of US income earners and US unemployed at the expense of workers globally. I’m not saying you necessarily think so, I just want to be clear where I’m coming from. The US poor are still a lot better off than their global counterparts, so there’s no reason for struggling US citizens to oppose or not support initiatives aimed at helping others globally. I think dissolving the military into something that can really respond to 21st century national security threats rather than destroying the world 1000times over and protecting the wealth of the top 1% would be a step forward.

        Even still though, assuming college education is readily available such that the military isn’t the only realistic option – I have no problem with people joining the military. Again, a military that’s not used to protect corporate interests, one not indulged in its own industrial complex – for some reason, I don’t know why, people still want to join, and I’m okay if that’s an option to a path for citizenship.

        • marcos

          US standards of living had been propped up historically in the post-WWII era for two reasons. First, the US has leveraged the dollar and the military to exact inexpensive raw materials from the global south, and second there had been a productivity sharing agreement in place.

          Reagan broke that deal and led to domestic wage stagnation. But the military extortion racket still provided cheap imports paid for by fiat dollars.

          Now, the dollar regime is on the ropes, which is good because it will crimp US imperial domination of the global south not to mention the terror that the military machine visits on the global south which fuels retaliation in the form of asymmetrical attacks like 911.

          But the lack of cheap materials on command by dollars will mean that imports will need to be paid for in Real Money based goods we produce that are purchased by others with real money. Good luck on that score.

          Domestically, any nation has a freer hand to organize the economy. The productivity deal can be restored, and subsidies for essential goods and services like retirement security and health care security can be arranged pretty easily.

          Once the dollar is freed from its double duty as global reserve currency and our domestic currency, the real battle will begin. We’re going to have to tighten our belts for the global reasons sketched above, but there will be a contest domestically over how we arrange our domestic economy amidst the ashes of Pax Americana.

          We have a crisis in college capacity that is rising nowhere near the level of population increase. Costs are likewise skyrocketing. It is very difficult to make the case for increasing capacity when so many college educated people are unemployed. Was our education even worth it?

          All of this indicates to me that we’re in a moment of crisis, of transition where nobody knows what’s going to come next. Blaming the slightly better off white people, LGBT rank and file, for the follies of the unaccountable political leadership, HRC or Democrat Party all the same, while not offering any partnerships with documented working folks to expand an immigration reform coalition met with predictable failure.

          Political success is only achieved with overwhelming numbers built from coalitions, not from shaming people with liberal guilt into “doing the right thing.” If ten point memos and cited debating skill were valid political currency, the American left of center would enjoy unchallenged political power.


          • marcos

            With these economic headwinds, the last thing that American tech workers need is the guvmint taking affirmative steps to drive down tech wages.

  6. marcos

    The DREAM Act is so narrowly crafted that it does indeed put the interests of the vast majority of undocumented workers on hold.

    Diminishing the insidiousness of the USG encouraging South Asian workers to come to the US while unemployment amongst existing tech workers here is a slap in the face to working folks, especially those of us who are getting long in the tooth and face competition by immigrants vulnerable due to H1-B and younger folks willing to work much longer for less. Not only is my political house on fire, my economic house is in flames as well. And you want me to suffer burns so that I can help whom again? That is not a reasonable request irrespective of racial considerations. The leftist notion that we only address the issues of “the most vulnerable” with the unstated proviso that we ignore any concerns of those not mired in abject poverty no longer functions.

    The gay, white establishment has abandoned any commitment to the LGBT base, including this gay white male. Why would anyone expect them to slither out of their comfort zone for POC immigrants when they won’t do that for what they assert as their primary constituency?

    I reject the ideology of “free trade” because that is what is driving this tension. Given that labor arbitrage is a game designed to reduce us all to serfdom by instigating a race to the bottom, playing us off against one another, we need for there to be protectionism put into place to be sure that we don’t all end up as poor wage slaves by encouraging races to the top.

    Immigration is a complex issue just like “globalization” and “free trade” and carries all sorts of implications under those predicates. This notion that either the HRC supports X policy on immigration or most white LGBT are affirmatively racists in this respect oversimplifies the underlying complexity of the economics and politics involved.

    Yes, all white people born and raised in the US, myself included are racists, that is not a question, we can’t help but be, it is not even “our fault.” The only valid mitigating question is “what are you doing about it?”

    There are several answers to that question, one of which for me is challenging the role of the Democrat Party to hijack legitimate aspirations for the purposes of continuing corporate and military rule that predicates our luxury on misery in the global south.

    Immigration happens because of both push and pull phenomenon that tie back directly to US economic, military and political policies in the global south.

    People should not have to be forced to move away from their cultures, homelands and families to chase the riches that we stolen from them, that is, not pushed to immigrate due to untenable conditions caused by US military and economic imperialism. I was moved at age 12 from NYC to TX for economic reasons and that culture clash fucked me up for life. Economic driven immigration is clear cutting cultures all throughout the global south. This is a bad thing because those cultures are valuable not because I don’t want those folks in the US. That is the radical solution to immigration, ending the ‘push.’

    Then there is the pull. After the US goes out and wreaks havoc on the global south, the accumulated resources here pull folks to where economics are more favorable. Of course, what is favorable to someone coming from Guatemala where the wage is $5/day is not favorable to someone coming from California.

    Those are elements of a framework for a radical analysis to the immigration issue, cutting off the engines of treating human beings, families and cultures like cattle to be subject and sacrificed to “labor mobility” to appease the whims of US economic, political and military hegemony.

    The commonality between DADT and DREAM is that they both continue to legitimate the US military which is the source of death and squalor which push immigration and hoard the wealth here that pulls immigration. I’m all down with living amidst diversity, I live in SF’s Mission District for a reason. But I take no solace in the fact that I live amongst people who are here because they have been essentially forced here at economic (and often real) gunpoint.

  7. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    It’s not about burning to help someone else. It’s about going after the real enemy. Immigrant workers aren’t your enemy. They got families, too. And on average, their houses aren’t burning; they’re houses have burned down.

    What I’m saying is that rather than fighting others who’re vulnerable over a water hose; you should be joining others to fight for the water tower! Immigrant workers aren’t you enemy.

    • marcos

      Once solidarity becomes a two-way street, I’m all in. Not supporting an initiative is not the same thing as fighting proponents.

      Given that logic, the focus of immigration reform solely on undocumented workers, ignoring the downward pressure on wages of documented immigrant workers is fighting citizen workers who have been displaced by cheap documented labor.

      You all came up short. The solution to that is not to blame those who did not support you. The forward solution is to learn from the defeat and craft a political coalition capable of prevailing.

      • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

        So what would you like for immigrants to do? Besides, of course, turning down the jobs and opportunities they need to keep their houses from burning, what would you have them do?

        • marcos

          The DREAM Act does not appear to impact but a slim fraction of immigrant youth, so I’d put it back on you as to what YOU expect for the vast bulk of immigrants not helped by DREAM to do?

          Far be it for me to try to lead the immigration campaign. But in any putatively democratic political culture, I’d suggest that immigrants and their advocates join in with others who are on the receiving end of immigration maliciousness to put together a coalition that can prevail.

          The problem is purely politically mathematical: the people who want redress from bad government immigration policy don’t have the vote, there are people who also want redress to similar bad government immigration policy who do have the vote, so whatcha gonna do?

          Doesn’t it make sense to highlight how special holes have been carved into a very restrictive immigration regime only to allow wage depressing South Asian techies into the US while outrage is distracted, no, directed towards low paid Latinos who do jobs most of us would never consider?

          Wouldn’t threatening to revoke those visas during times of high unemployment as a first gambit, negotiated down to closing those loopholes to newcomers when unemployment is high as a compromise get people’s attention to progressive immigration reform?

          Hint: hitching the immigration reform wagon to the same corporate interests that are using immigration policy to screw documented workers is not the most progressive or liberal path forward, yet those corporate interests are the only reasons why immigration reform ever sees the light of day in this corporate congress. That is your dilemma.


  8. Seattle in Texas

    Just some brief thoughts on this post.

    First, very glad DODT passed. But I suspect the discrimination is only going to change in form. The couple of friends I do have that are either serving, or previously served, in the military are rather neutral on this one. One has been serving for over 14-years and is more concerned about the effects of having served in Iraq and so on. I just found their reactions interesting I suppose.

    Second, on the DREAM Act. I don’t understand how the U.S. can require the children of undocumented parents to attend public schools and then deny them the right to a college education. They should be granted full citizenship and given a free ride through college as far as they wish considering all they and their families sacrifice, endure, and give. I would like to see amnesty granted to all undocumented people so they can have the same rights and protections under state and federal law that legal residents and citizens are granted (though I realize with racism laws can be/are more harmful than protective…ugh!!). The bottom line for me is that it’s inherently inhumane to make human beings “illegal” in any respect–period.

    I appreciated the point above that noted how the common thread between both DADT and DREAM were with relation to military policy. What’s troublesome for me about DREAM is that the military recruits from the lowest and most vulernable social sectors of this society–this recruiting would then come to include the children of undocemented workers. Sometimes these folks (referring to anybody who is recruited from the lowest sectors of society) can move on up, but not always. These folks are often put in dangerous situations, such as being on the front line of wars, and so on. And the military does not take even remotely adequate care of its veterans. I am against the idea of the military being used as a lure for a pathway to citizenship.

    And I just wanted to close with the problemtatic idea that people have free will–that was mentioned somewhere above with relation to low ranking military officials I believe having the choice to engage in inhumane acts or not. I just wanted to pass on two suggested readings:



  1. Tweets that mention The DREAM Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives :: --
  2. Tweets that mention The DREAM Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives :: --
  3. Tweets that mention The DREAM Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives :: --
  4. Tweets that mention The DREAM Act and the Failure of White Gay/Lesbian Progressives :: --

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