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A Bi-Partisan Betrayal of Dreamers: A Bi-Partisan vote for militarism

February 13, 2018

In the very early morning hours of last Friday, Congress passed a two-year budget bill, but completely left Dreamers out of the equation. 

In total, 36 Democrats in the Senate and 73 in the House joined the Republican majority in voting for the so-called Bipartisan Budget Act. Among the Democratic Senators to vote against having a Clean Dream Act, were Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.

Those organizing to get a Clean Dream Act passed, have been meeting with Senator Stabenow and her staff in Michigan and in Washington. In addition, the mostly DACA recipients, engaged in a sit-in in Senator Stabenow’s office just a few weeks ago and were given assurances that the Senator would support the Dreamers.

Some people are referring to the Democrats failure to support the Dreamers as an act of betrayal, while others are stating that they “threw the Dreamers under the bus.”

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director for United We Dream, stated:

“Today, the world can legitimately wonder whether an opposition to Trump’s racist agenda exists in Congress. Democrats and moderate Republicans had leverage to protect immigrant youth but instead of protecting us, they used our suffering as a bargaining chip to get more dollars for other projects.

The backstabbing by Chuck Schumer, betrayal by 73 House Democrats and Paul Ryan’s cruel games  leave me, my sisters, and millions of immigrant youth at greater risk of being dragged to detention camps and deported. Speeches, crocodile tears and Facebook posts will not save a single life.

Yesterday, over a hundred immigrant youth marched through the halls of Capitol Hill, visiting 240 House Democrats and moderate Republican offices for 14 hours to share our stories and demand permanent protection that does not harm our families and other immigrants.”

However, there is another way to look at the outcome of the vote last Friday, where a Dream Act was not included in the vote. The budget bill that was voted on included a ton of money for the Pentagon and US militarism. One could certainly argue that these are the real constituents of those who occupy seats in Congress. Most Senators and Representatives have military contractors in their districts, which means jobs. Are they really going to piss off those companies and the people they employ?

Here is what Senator Gary Peters tweeted about the budget deal, “The budget deal offers certainty to our military and addresses many outstanding funding priorities.”

Senator Peters sits on the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. He receives campaign contributions from the military industrial complex and is lobbied directly by the defense industry. 

Senator Stabenow, while not directly connected to the Pentagon, has also been a devout supporter of the annual US military budget since taking office in 2000. In addition, Senator Stabenow is up for re-election this year and she doesn’t want to alienate those in the military industrial complex who have contributed to her campaign before.

Remember, this is the so-called Resistance, that those in the Democratic Party like to call themselves these days. Ironically, this is not the only time that Senator Peters and Stabenow have voted with President Trump. You can follow the their votes in The Age of Trump, for both Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow.

Despite the failure of the Democrats to pass a Clean Dream Act, those on the ground who are organizing, the immigrant youth who forced then-President Obama to pass an initial Dream Act, are not giving up and will continue to resist.

Dreamers will be walking from New York to Washington DC, starting February 15 and arriving on March 1st. According to the website for the march, the organizers state: 

With the vote count on the Spending bill we have seen once again the lack of courage from Democratic Party members. House Democratic members had the power and leverage to stand up to the hateful anti-immigrant Republican Party leadership to force the Dream Act to be included in the spending bill but decided against standing up for undocumented youth.  The Seed Project, along with allies, will be embarking on a walk of hope. The Walk to Stay Home will be starting on February 15, consisting of 11 full time walkers and 15 support members who will be walking from New York City to Washington D.C, where they will be organizing a mass protest when walkers arrive at The Capitol. The Walkers will show members of congress they are not alone and will not accept excuses while being used for achieving higher approval ratings and winning elections. The Walkers demand a clean Dream Act that would grant permanent protection and they demand it now.

La Lucha Sigue!

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