It was one of those, you-know-that-journalist-who-knows-that-lady-with-the-dog-who-needs-walking-well-her-good-friend's-best-friend's-house-is-having-an-event type of deal. I ended up talking to him exclusively for about ten minutes in what has become a conversation I will always treasure. I expressed my gratitude to him for being a co-sponsor of the Federal D.R.E.A.M Act, I informed him about the work that has been done, the coalitions that have been formed, and about the need for our new president to understand the issue.
He listened as I spoke and held my hand. He then said, "I am so proud of the work that you do and I am so proud of the students who do this work." He talked about the need to reach across the aisle. He was honest and said it would be hard work, but understood the need clearly.
Soon after that, as the work on the California Dream Act heated up, he released a statement (the only candidate to do so) in support of our efforts:
OBAMA URGES GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER TO SIGN THE DREAM ACT, CHICAGO, IL – Oct. 9, 2007
U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who played an integral role in passing the Illinois
version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act)while serving in the State Senate and is a cosponsor of the legislation in the U.S. Senate, today released the following statement urging Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the DREAM Act into law:
"You know our immigration system is truly broken when we punish children who have learned English and worked hard to succeed in school so that they can become American citizens. Enforcement alone will not solve the immigration crisis we face. If Governor Schwarzenegger vetoes the DREAM Act a second time, he will compound the immigration crisis by driving thousands of children who were on the right path into the shadows. We teach our children that in America, you will thrive if you work hard and dream big. Governor Schwarzenegger now has the chance to demonstrate that instead of blaming one group for the challenges America faces, he can unite Californians and give children who play by the rules the opportunity to succeed."
Yes, that man will be our president.
As a past co-sponsor of the federal bill, and as a supporter of the issues we face in California, it looks promising and comforting to know that our new president not only understands, but has demonstrated support for undocumented students. But that unfortunately, that may not be enough. Let's keep an eye on the House and Senate.
After looking at the new makeup of the Senate, Susan, a fellow Dreamer, broke it down for us:
- 52 existing ayes on Dream Act cloture vote
- add 3 former co-sponsors who didn't vote for it because they were running for president at the time
- add Boxer (D-CA) who was absent in 2007 because of the California fires but is a co-sponsor
- add the 5 new democrats IF they were to vote aye (this is where we have to work it!!!)
52+9 =61 enough to pass a cloture vote!
Let's not forget that the issue has been bi-partisan, we can get more Republicans on board as well.
Fellow Dreamers: Light has come to shine on our Journey. Hope is in the air and progress around the corner. Yes, change is coming. Let this be our time, let this be our year, let's make it happen. Let's make our own history. Who's with me?