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Colin Powell Encourages Republicans To Support the DREAM Act

Colin Powell Encourages Republicans To Support the DREAM Act

In just a bit, the DREAM Act (that is, the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act) will hit the Senate floor as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. Given the upcoming midterm elections, which heightens the stakes of every Congressional action, and the inflammatory rhetoric swirling around even undocumented children, it seems almost inevitable this Act will be a fierce fight.

As the battle lines are drawn, though, there are those who are talking sense. On Sunday’s “Meet The Press”, retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a moderate Republican who is widely respected among liberals and conservatives alike, urged his fellow Republicans to “come out” in favor of the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act, which Care2′s Jessica Pieklo and Nicole Nuss have posted about many times, would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States with their parents. The bill would grant them six years of temporary residency, and if they complete two years of college or serve honorably in the military during that time, they will be able to obtain permanent residency.

“We can’t be anti-immigration,” Powell says in his interview, “because immigrants are fueling this country…Our minorities are not getting educated well enough now. Fifty percent of our minority kids are not finishing high school. We’ve got to invest in education. We should use the DREAM Act as one way to do it.” He insists that while there’s nothing wrong with wanting our southern border secure, and making sure immigrants enter the country in a “legal, safe manner,” we must find a way to bring undocumented individuals currently in the country “out of the darkness.” I highly recommend watching the whole thing! It’s short, just under three minutes. 

Powell should be commended for his thoughtful stance, particularly when other formerly moderate-on-immigration Republicans like Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham have been moving quickly toward extremely conservative anti-immigration positions. Furthermore, Republicans and Democrats alike should listen to him — this bill, which is far from any kind of blanket amnesty, is important not only for the sake of currently undocumented young people, but for the sake of all of us. If you’re concerned about undocumented immigrants being a drain on public resources? This bill will mandate education and/or military service, setting immigrants up for careers in which they will be able to support themselves and contribute to the economy. Worried immigrants will flood the job market? Documentation will take these young people out of a pool of illegal, “shadow workers” unregulated by the government and undermining wages — and it will allow them to become the small business owners of the future, employing other Americans. Fret about crime? “Good moral character” is a prerequisite of gaining permanent residency, so there’s an incentive for any undocumented youth to keep on the straight and narrow. Do you think those choosing to enter the country illegally shouldn’t ever get amnesty? Well, this bill is restricted to those who were brought to the U.S. as minors, so it really wasn’t their choice.

This moderate bill has the potential to infuse our country with new talent, intelligence, and passion, as young people gain educations, fight for America, and become citizens. With “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and the DREAM Act both on the table today, doesn’t now seem like a good time for a last minute call to your Senators?

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Photo of General Colin Powell from Charles Haynes's flickr, under Creative Commons license.

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34 comments

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9:07PM PDT on Oct 6, 2010

Allan Y.-Exactly, but your way of thinking punishes their children since you can't punish them. Children that are not responsible for their parents acts. And whether you like it or not, they're here now, most of them American in every way, except paper work. Are you kidding me? Is that how you define Americans now? By what a little piece of paper tells you. And if you define Americans and Americanism by their thoughts, and their deeds, their mindsets and the lives they're building for themselves, then they're already citizens by virtue of their hearts. They are already your neighbors. Are you going to just turn your backs on your fellow citizens. Talking about foreign immigration (illegal or otherwise), is their ANYTHING more un-american than that? What would our Founding Fathers (and all those who came after to enrich our country) say about that? You know, the people who created that whole "give us your poor huddled masses" and all that. Are there real and practical issues concerning immigration, certainly. Penalizing the young, who are already our fellows in every way that truly matters is NOT one of them.

11:17PM PDT on Sep 30, 2010

Would someone remind me why this man didn't run for President. I think he would have been better than Obama.

11:12AM PDT on Sep 25, 2010

I have a problem with supporting the children of illegal aliens. We would not need this legislature if the parents were American citizens. Powell says we should not be anti-immigration. What a dumb statement. Who said we were? This is not immigration; it's giving into the wave of illegal aliens who should not have been allowed into this country!

9:16AM PDT on Sep 25, 2010

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5:40AM PDT on Sep 23, 2010

Marilyn Diane Lee,
I agree with you 100%. He really is no republican. He belongs with those liberal left-wingers. You guys can have him.

9:59PM PDT on Sep 22, 2010

Bravo to Colin Powell for being a clear-thinking and vocal humanitarian!

7:56PM PDT on Sep 22, 2010

Powell is a has been and I am sorry to say he is a Republcian. He claims the immigrants are fueling this country, how about the born here American's fueling this country? He thinks because he is a four star general he is something special? Well he is nothing special as I once worked down the hall from him and had to pass his office each day to get a cup of coffee. Well, he went to my boss and said he wanted no one to walk pass his office to get a cup of coffee so I had to learn a new route to get to the coffee pot on our shared floor. He is not the nice guy everyone believes he is. He is just living on the past and what he did twenty years ago. He is a has been!!!!!

6:43PM PDT on Sep 22, 2010

Mr. Powell had Illegals on his payroll.

6:03PM PDT on Sep 22, 2010

got cut off someway... church and state. In a political debate religion is not an appropriate response. This is not the place to proselytize

5:57PM PDT on Sep 22, 2010

General Powell is a man of integrity. Of course the Republicans will reject him. Back when GWB was running for reelection a friend of mine was a staunch Republican. I told him that Bush was all about big money. He said that was alright because he thought he would make big money someday and wanted all the tax cuts and loopholes they had. I said that was probably a dream that he would never accomplish. He voted for Bush. Six months later he called me and apologized. I asked for what reason. His response was I was right and he was sorry for voting for Bush.

Now the average Republican voter is in his same shoes. If they believe all the fear
mongering from their far right they will vote for Republicans and be very sorry when the big money people continue their rape of this country. I can't believe simply because we don't hear from the moderate Republicans that they will allow that to happen. After all most Republicans are just like most Democrats and want fair treatment in getting a fair paying job, an affordable home, etc.

We must have government regulations to control
the greed that has become rampant from Wall Street, banks, corporations and a multitude of others who only think of themselves without regard to the health and welfare of our citizens.

Calling each other names does not persuade anyone to agree. Can't we be civil to one another on this site? If you disagree, please try to give facts to back your opinion. I'm a firm believer in separation of churc

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