Saturday, January 07, 2012

Some Good News

It's the New Year, one which is an election year, and I've already found some good news. There may be plenty of crazy racists in California, but not as many as the Republicans were counting on.

Opponents of California's Dream Act have failed in a signature-gathering drive aimed at overturning the new law that will permit some undocumented immigrants to receive publicly funded college aid. ...

The effort garnered 447,514 signatures, not the required 504,760 valid voter signatures required to place the matter before voters ...

The Dream Act allows undocumented students who came to the country before age 16 and attended California high schools to apply for public financial aid, including Cal Grants. Those students already are eligible for in-state tuition, and Gov. Jerry Brown also signed a companion measure this year affording them access to private financial aid.

"Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creating thinking," Brown said in a prepared statement upon signing the contested bill, Assembly Bill 131, in October. "The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us."
[Emphasis added]

In a state as populous and diverse as California, the right wing couldn't find half a million loonies willing to sign on to the mean-spirited attempt to repeal a decent and compassionate law. Republican legislators, of course, are spinning it a little differently. They promise that the issue won't go away because the state's budget won't allow for such spending. Giving kids a chance for an education is frivolous in their eyes.

Of course, this victory is only half-a-loaf, which while better than no bread at all still doesn't fully solve the problem. Once these students graduate, unless there has been some meaningful immigration reform giving them a shot at citizenship or at least legal residence, they won't be able to secure the jobs which will enrich the state and its citizens.

Such reform has to come at the national level, and it won't come from the 112th Congress during an election year. The various candidates for the Republican nomination have gone out of their way to bash immigrants by trying to outdo each other in cementing our borders against the unwashed hordes trying to sneak in and steal our vital essence. Congressional Republicans have already made it clear that anything that smacks of "amnesty" will not be tolerated, even when that "amnesty" is being extended to kids who were brought here before they were sixteen and had no say in the matter. And congressional Republicans control the House and are gunning to take the Senate in 2012.

That means we are going to have to elect Democrats across the country to Congress so that at least we have a shot at humane reform. We might have to hold our noses at voting for Obama, but there is every reason in the world to vote for decent people down the ticket. That way we might finally get the change we voted for in 2008.

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