Xenophobia, intolerance have no place here


To the editor:

Sanford Horns opinion piece (The DREAM Act is a nightmare, September 30, 2010) carelessly misconstrues the DREAM Act and the individuals for whom this proposed legislation is intended.  

The Act does not benefit criminals, but rather young, upstanding immigrants who entered the United States. when they were too young to understand the repercussions of their actions. Our country does not have a tradition or a Constitution that criminalizes children for the decisions of their parents.  

To qualify for lawful residence, the Act would require these youths to demonstrate academic excellence and upstanding character that is, they must prove they are assets to the community where they have lived for years. In addition, they must either enroll in college without government aid or enlist in the armed forces. With standards this high, the pool of eligible applicants would be comprised of honor-roll students, community leaders and aspiring doctors, engineers, teachers, police and soldiers: people who would make great fellow countrymen.

It is not surprising, therefore, that DREAM Act supporters are far more abundant than Mr. Horn posits. The bill has 40 cosponsors in the Senate, 131 in the House (many of whom are Republican), and recent polls indicate 70 percent of Americans support the legislation.

I base my opinion on the DREAM Acts endorsement by several important players, including a host of retired and active military leaders who have lauded it as an effective tool to galvanize capable and honorable youth to enlist in our armed forces. Mr. Horns rhetorical question, What guarantee is there that some of them wont turn their military-issued firearms on their own platoon? is, at best, arbitrary and unfair, and otherwise insulting and ignorant of the caliber of young people who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the ideals and protection of the country where they have grown up. To call these kids criminals is inaccurate, and to insinuate they have a penchant for fratricide is xenophobic and intolerable.  

Is the reason for such momentum really to curry favor with Hispanic voters, or to levy claims maliciously against Republican naysayers? To me it seems more likely our citizens want this Act passed because, aside from giving deserving youth the right to a future, it will make our country a better place. 

Before determining your own view on the DREAM Act, please do your community and your country a service by learning the facts.

– Julia Reeder