For years the organized anti-immigrant movement has sought to undermine legislation like the DREAM Act and the bill’s supporters. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) continued the trend last week when one analyst implied DREAMers are less likely to assimilate and may commit terrorist acts similar to last year’s Boston Marathon bombings.
On the one-year anniversary of the tragic events in Boston, CIS published a blog by legal policy analyst Jon Feere questioning how the suspected bombers were legal immigrants yet “never really accepted the United States as home.” Feere segued to discuss current DREAM-like proposals offering young undocumented immigrants who serve in the military permanent residency and possibly a path to citizenship. Feere continued, speculating that such measures could pose a threat to American service members and claiming that, with current immigrant policies, “we’re doing nothing more than creating the conditions for balkanization.”
Feere’s blog largely centered on the concept of assimilation, and operated on the assumption that immigrants acknowledging their culture and customs from their country of origin are un-American. The sentiment shatters the “pro-immigrant” veneer CIS and other anti-immigrant organizations use to hide their nativist disdain and fears of immigrants and others they view as different. Even DREAMers that were brought to this country under circumstances beyond their control, graduating from American schools, and contributing to the country’s economy cannot escape the anti-immigrant movement’s efforts of demonization. To see this, all one has to do is look at previous attempts by organizations like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to paint DREAMers as vicious murderers or Feere’s allusion last week to DREAMers being future terrorists.
Each year, thousands of undocumented immigrants graduate from American high schools and wish to lead successful lives in the country where they grew up. Their activism has had a significant impact on the national debate over immigration policy. Even NumbersUSA founder and president Roy Beck has recognized this. In Februrary he claimed, “If we didn’t have the Dreamers, I don’t think we would have any push at all on immigration.” While the activism of DREAMers and their allies has made very impactful and positive changes on the immigration debate and led to state level victories in areas like tuition equity and drivers’ licenses for all immigrants, there is still much work to be done and activists continue to fight every day.
To nativists, DREAMers represent one of the greatest threats to the proliferation and continuation of anti-immigrant policies nationwide. As polling shows, DREAMers have substantially won the public’s support and this momentum will only grow. Accordingly, the anti-immigrant movement almost exclusively now relies on legislative obstruction and disingenuous attacks on its opposition.
This desperation will only increase as immigrant rights advocates continue to make gains. With that, the anti-immigrant movement will continue to expose its true character – further destroying its own credibility and influence in the process.