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Commentary: Congress' Failure to Pass DREAM Act

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, January 7, 2011

When did the first ancestor of Jeff Sessions immigrate to America, and from where? Did she have valid papers? Who was the first Hatch in America? Did he sneak across the border? I refer to Senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Orrin Hatch of Utah. They led the wrong-headed opposition to the DREAM Act.

The proposed law, defeated the last week-end of the last Congress, would have provided a path to citizenship for children who were brought into this country illegally by their parents before their 16th birthday - in many cases as infants. Residents or our county who have been raised and educated here, and have no meaningful connection with any other place on the globe.

To qualify for the DREAM Act they would have to be exemplary Americans, better than most of us for whom citizenship is a fortunate accident of birth. They could have no criminal history, would have to graduate from high school and attend college or join our nation's armed services.

Surely among the 41 senators who voted no, there's a great, great, grandfather who told a falsehood at Ellis Island, overstayed his visa, or maybe even waded across the Rio Grande.  Shame on all who voted no. Somewhere, an immigrant ancestor is shaking his head.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.

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