Friday, October 26, 2007
Lou Dobbs, Tom Tancredo, Lisa Sylvester Continue to Lie to Americans about Dream Act.
This story shows clearly how those opposed to the Dream Act cannot argue the merits of their case, so they choose to lie to Americans to gain support. The big lie this time was that the three students appearing with Dick Durbin at a news conference outside the capitol in support of the Dream Act were "illegal aliens." They even went so far as to claim that those three students should have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
The truth is that those students all have legal status, yet two of the three have no way to every become permanent residents because of our ridiculous immigration laws.
On the October 23 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, while reporting on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would have provided Legal Permanent Resident status to immigrants who arrived in the United States before age 16, graduate from a U.S. high school, and either serve in the military or attend college for at least two years, correspondent Lisa Sylvester claimed that, earlier that day, the bill's sponsors had "held a news conference in the Capitol with illegal alien college students who'd benefit from the program." Sylvester continued, "But that may have backfired. Opponents demanded federal immigration officials detain the illegal aliens." Sylvester then highlighted comments by Republican presidential candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo (CO), who issued a press release "call[ing] on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to detain any illegal aliens at this press conference," and anti-illegal immigration activist Rosemary Jenks, who stated: "You know, if the U.S. Capitol is a sanctuary, why shouldn't everyone come in illegally?" In concluding her report, Sylvester noted that "[n]one of the students was detained."
In contrast with the assertion on Dobbs that the students are "illegal alien[s]," ABC News investigated the status of the students attending the event and, on October 24, reported on its website:
[One of the students, Manuel] Bartsch was born in Germany but was raised by his step-grandparents in the United States. He said he'd tried to take a college entrance exam but didn't have a Social Security number. Bartsch's step-grandfather hadn't completed the proper paperwork, and Bartsch didn't become a U.S. citizen. This began a years-long bureaucratic odyssey for Bartsch, who is now a junior in college. Along the way, he'd been placed in detention by immigration authorities for 16 days. Ultimately, due to the intervention of Ohio Republican Rep. Paul Gillmor, Bartsch was awarded permanent resident status by the Department of Homeland Security.
Bartsch was joined at the event today by two other students, who could benefit from the DREAM Act. Tam Tran, whose Vietnamese parents came to the United States illegally from Germany, has lived in the here since she was 10. Tran is a UCLA graduate who wants to pursue a doctorate at the University of Southern California but can't because she needs federal student loans. The government can't deport her family to Vietnam because her father was persecuted by the communist government there, and ... Germany won't take them back either. Tran said today she is in "permanent legal limbo."
All this means little to Marie Gonzalez, the third student to appear with Durbin today. She has lived in Missouri since she was 5 -- her parents were deported to Costa Rica in 2005 -- and she will be deported too in June 2008, when a temporary Homeland Security waiver of action against her expires. Gonzalez said today she'll be 18 hours away from graduation at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., when she officially becomes illegal again.
The bottom line is this, none of those students are "illegal aliens" yet Lou Dobbs, Tom Tancredo, and the Right wingers continue to LIE because it serves their xenophobic agenda.