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September 20, 2010 02:27 AM UTC

Why I Support the DREAM Act

  • by: nancycronk

I am not a new American.

My ancestors on both sides have been American citizens for many generations. According to family research on both sides, I am Irish, French, Dutch, German, English, Scottish, Swedish, Canadian and more than likely, Native American. There may have been many other ethnicities mixed in, but the census records often indicate “Black German” or “Black Irish” — a common designation meaning “western European mixed with someone my ancestors did not want to acknowledge, probably with brown skin”. This designation sometimes meant African, Gypsy, Jewish, Native American, or a myriad of other groups of individuals who were discriminated against at the time. According to geneologists, most Americans had “Black Irish” or “Black German” listed frequently in their family trees. (The concept of race, incidentally, was a rather recently developed artificial designation. There is no genetic basis for “race” the way Americans tend to think of it.…

On my mother’s side, we are reportedly descended from President Andrew Jackson’s sister, and one of my ancestors crossed the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone. My mother is a certified Daughter of the American Revolution, making me one as well. On both sides, they fought in the Civil War — some on one side, some on the other. Some fought in the Revolutionary War, while others fought for the British mother-land and were rewarded for it later with huge swaths of land in the Hudson River Valley. (I am told there is a Cronk museum somewhere in upstate, New York.)

My Dad’s family were related to English and French royalty back in the 700’s (if you believe one of the people who studied our family tree). Despite their royal roots, they were poor farmers during the Great Depression of the 20th century. Ethnically Irish and English, Grandpa and Granma raised 14 of their 17 children to adulthood, many times with only potatoes to eat for dinner. Of my Dad’s nine brothers, six served in the armed services like their father before them. That tradition continues; many generations of my family have proudly worn the uniform of the United States of America.

Songs my father sang to us were known among the immigrant Scottish families at the turn-of-the-twentieth century. My Dad often ate such ethnic foods as blood pudding (ick), sourkraut (ick), kielbasa, and lutefisk (big ick) growing up.

My Dad used to call us “Heinz 57” meaning 57 different ingredients. I married a Hungarian/ Polish/Russian Jew. We often joke with our kids they could win an award for being the biggest “Mutt’s”.

I like to look at the bits and pieces of my rich family geneology and wonder, “What was it like when English Catholic Frances married Irish protestant Al?” or “What was it like to leave your family in Deutchland, move to America, and marry someone with brown skin, such that you couldn’t even write their real heritage on a census document?” How did all of these people who married immigrants from other lands get along? Which languages did they speak at home to their children? Why? What kinds of discrimination did they face when they interacted? What strengths did they draw on to survive, and to stay in America and fight for their place in history?

How many of my ancestors were slaves raped by white slaveowners? I don’t know there were any for a fact, but one record, for example, lists an unknown woman having a child with a known aristocratic man. My ancestor was not listed on their official website as having been one of the ten children born to his legal wife. My ancestor was listed as number eleven or higher. When I wrote to a woman who jealously protected their precious family tree, she said, “Your ancestor did not exist”.

Pretty sure I’m sitting here today, thank you very much.

You could say my family history is the story of America. In each generation of my family, beginning hundreds of years ago, they proudly practiced the languages and cultures they were born into, while embracing the rugged spirit of America. They assimilated, amalgamated and accomodated (in my husband’s European extended family, many were exterminated). Each generation faced discrimination when they arrived on western shores. Each caused heartache and hardship for someone else, perhaps, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Each faced challenges I cannot begin to imagine.

I support the DREAM Act because my family’s story is the American story. The American story is not one of “homogenity”. It is the beautiful, rich, complicated, messy, vibrant, painful, smelly, violent, colorful, interesting and exhilerating story of generation after generation of people who came in waves after we stole this land from its rightful owners — the  Native Americans. There are chapters in our American story that cause me sadness, while others cause me pride and joy.

According to science, the first humans were in northern Africa, so even the Native Americans and Aztecs were immigrants at one time, as well.  As each wave of immigrants arrived in the west, they changed its’ fabric forever — in some positive ways, and in some negative ways. As a people, Americans have a fascinating story — one of various colors, religions, languages, cuisines, cultures, and homelands.

My ancestors have been in American for hundreds of years, but still, I am an immigrant. We are all immigrants from somewhere. We are all here because someone fought hard to feed their children and to make a difference. We are all descendants of struggle. We are all the recipients of the bounty of their pain, their dreams, their determination… of some kind. None of us are more entitled to be here than another. We are all  guests on this land.

It honors my ancestors, and it honors yours, when we welcome new waves of immigrants to our shores. It honors our ancestors to give hope to a generation of new Americans — Americans who will contribute their varied talents and skills to our growing legacy.

I bow to my brothers and sisters who are arriving to this country in my generation, and I say, “Welcome, Sister. Welcome, Brother. Welcome Cousins. May you be rich beyond measure, free beyond previous constraints, inspired beyond your own imagination. Let us work together and be one American family. What I can offer you, I freely give. It does not make me poorer. What you can offer me, I gratefully receive. It makes us all richer.”

We are stronger, wealthier, and smarter… together. This is the American Way. That is the American Dream. This is the America I know and love.


The plaque at the Statue of Liberty bears this engraving from “The New Colossus,” a poem by Emma Lazarus:

~ The New Colossus ~

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


24 thoughts on “Why I Support the DREAM Act

      1. I was watching the debate stream, and his answer to it was basically I support it but there’s this little clause about misdemeanors that is bad so I dont…

        I guess the question is… if that was gone, would he support it? He seemed to say so?

  1. Is a juvenile criminal record and two guilty pleas for sexual assault the profile of somebody you want to grant citizenship to?  I don’t think that is a very good idea.

    Should there be a requirement of some type of public service?  Makes sense to me.

    What the limitations placed on eligibility are the real issues.  Do you know what they are?

    Has anybody actually read the DREAM act or are we just going on Bennet likes it so it must be good.

    Bennet liked the Healthcare law and they are already trying to amend it as to 1099’s because the people that voted for it apparently did not think it through very well.

    When is amateur hour going to be over?

    1. Never.  And it doesn’t matter what party is in control “The Law of Unintended Consequences” will never be repealed or moot.  It’s the struggle of men trying to accomplish things with said men’s limited fortune telling ability that makes these mistakes.

      I’m for the DREAM act in principle; why hold these innocent kids in legal limbo because of that their parents did?  

      I do not support the so called required service component.  First, all we ever hear about is military.  Not everyone will pass the requirements, even at today’s ridiculously lenient standards.  Physical “defects,” some mental, too.  Of course, the military is salivating for more low complaining cannon fodder.

      What’s left?  Vista? Peace Corp.? Limited openings, especially for people new in life.  What about X number of hours in community service?

      A service requirement will inevitably, inherently, be inequitable and variable in application.

      I’m of the opinion that if a student can maintain a C or better average in HS and wants to go to college or trade school at “in state” rates, let him/her.  You won’t find many with lesser grade averages wanting to, anyway.

      End of story.  

      1. If we go there, the kids should go back to the country they were born in and apply like others for citizenship.  The whole reason to treat them differently is because of something their parents did, come here illegally.

        1. So the taxpayers spend maybe $30K-50K to educate them, they may speak no Spanish, and we tell them to leave so that they might qualify to come back legally.  Which will never happen.

          Let Mexico reap the benefits of your tax dollars!  Wow…….

          That’s the dumbest fucking thing I’ve seen you write, so far, and that’s saying something.  (And you DO write some good things, too, I know.)

          1. You said:

            I’m for the DREAM act in principle; why hold these innocent kids in legal limbo because of that their parents did?

            You wouldn’t need a dream act except for what their parents did.

            There are lots of arguments to make in favor of the Dream act that make sense.  That one was not one of them

        2. Ken Buck wants to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, because childen should not be held responsible for their parents’ crimes.

          Ken Buck wants to deport successful children of immigrants, because children should be held responsible for their parents’ crimes.

          Sounds like Ken Buck will believe just about anything if it fucks over anyone who’s not a white dude.

  2. Several things to keep in mind with this very emotional appeal to open the doors wide.

    1.  When that poem was written – and it wasn’t part of the original statue – our nation was very different.  No one had heard the word “overpopulation,” low skill labor was in much demand.  

    2.  Even then, the immigrants went through a process and qualifying process.  

    3.  From the 1920’s through the 1970’s we limited immigration to some refugees and those possessing skills we wanted.  Limiting immigration resulted in labor becoming valuable, its value no longer always subverted by the next ship at the pier.

    4.  I can’t prove this, but my sense, you know, living here for all my life, is that the majority of illegal immigrants have no particular desire to become citizens or participate in our society.  They will never go for citizenship no matter how easy we make it.  Some due to laziness, some due to chauvinism.  It would be interesting to see how many of those given legal residency with the amnesty of 1986 ever went on to citizenship.

    With modern communications and transportation, home is just a phone call away.  Not exactly the deprivation of shipboard time frames.

    5.  The issue that sticks in many conservative craws is that all the immigrants that you wax emotionally on were, with few exceptions, legal.  They went through a process.  We have untold thousands of good people waiting all over the world for a chance to immigrate to America.  To lend complete approval to those who sidestepped the system denigrates those trying to do it correctly.  

    I’m willing to accept reality, despite all that I just wrote.  Amnesty 1986 deja vu all over again, I guess, in some form.  I won’t expound on possible methods.  Reward those who have kept their noses clean, paid their taxes, I guess.  Maybe a large fine. I dunno.

    But certainly, let their innocent kids go to college!

    1. (Not a big deal.)

      I take a big issue with number four. How many undocumented workers do you know? I met a lot when we were registering voters in Aurora two years ago. I don’t know for a fact they were, but I think so — they were very excited about Obama, desperately wanted to vote, but couldn’t. Of course, I didn’t know anything about them — their names, where they lived, etc., but they hung around my reg. locations and wanted to talk about Barack and how great he was, despite saying “no, no, no” when I asked if they were registered. I didn’t press it. If someone said no, I backed off. I was there for one reason — to register new voters, not cause anyone trouble.

      There were a lot of tear-jerking stories about new citizens we registered to vote for the first time. I took their photos like it was their wedding day. They were very, very, very excited about being able to vote as a full-fledged American! Sometimes they cried. Sometimes I cried. They were very proud of their new citizenship, PR. Not one of them took it lightly.

      In fact, it really pissed me off to see white born-in-America Americans in contrast say “Nah, vote — what’s the point?” at their doors. I felt like shaking them and saying, “Look you little punk! Muhammad or Jose or Anastasia (or whoever) would give his/her eye-teeth for the rights you have! Get off your lazy $%^#$% and vote!”  

      1. Thanks for your graciousness.  I guess I conflated JO’s postings on voting to this.  I definitely need to up my Aricept.

        Paragraph One (your responses): I’ve known quite a few immigrants of both the legal and illegal types.  I helped several get residency during the 1986 amnesty. I can also observe the communities, their media, and when opportunity arises, take time to learn. Those are the basis for my comments.

        As to wanting to vote, talk is cheap, walking not so much.  Wanting to vote is not the same as the effort to become a citizen.  Hell, I’d love to pilot a 747, but…..

        Paragraph Two: Yeah, me too!  I’ve helped a Chinese friend become a citizen and attended the naturalization service of a coworker.  Woo hoo!

        Paragraph Three: Yeah, me too!  If you don’t vote, stopyabitchin’.

        I do very much appreciate your postings here and the good work you’ve done as a citizen!

      1. Close as planets go, anyway.

        Yes, I’ve even had moments of kumbuyya with Libertad and Beejster.  At least one each, anyway.  I hope it’s not a trend.

      2. If there’s only one issue out there that we would have to agree upon, then this is the ‘best’ one to unite our intellect upon

        I would only say legalizing civil unions/gay marriage could be a more important cause – hard to pick between the two, but they’re probably equal

        Re-implementing the Glass Steagall Act would be a close third behind the above two things

        My 2 cents 😉

  3. The United States has 310 million people today, whereaas it had 170 million in 1970.  If we continue with immigration at about current levels of 1.5 million per year we will have 480 million by 2050.

    We no longer have wide open spaces, untapped and limitless resources, and a need for millions of poor, uneducated workers.  Simply put, America is now fully occupied and we don’t need more people.

    The Dream Act is just another amnesty, allowing people up to 35 to apply, with no need to prove qualification.  Once they gain citizenship, there will be another round of family reunification with millions more coming here.

    Like you, both sides of my family have been here for hundreds of years.  Unlike you, I don’t worship immigration and consider myself an American, period.  And at this point in our history, I think it is American to limit immigration to historical levels of 200,000 per year and focus on becoming a sustainable society that doesn’t isn’t dependent on an endless supply of people or resources from other parts of the world.

    The illegal immigrants we have educated should take their education and go back to their home countries and do what they can to help people there.

    1. My mother naturalized. I was born here. This is amnesty.

      Read it.

      DHS, has wide latitude on allowing 10 million illegals, there are no age limits to stay. For example, anyone who completes a GED and gets into two years of college, no matter what their age will be a citizen, as long as they say they were under 16 when they arrived here and that was five years ago. Disprove that, even if you do, the majority of this bill goes to the many ways DHS will allow them to say.

      Oh, anyone who isn’t can apply for a hardship exception, hardship is anyone with anyone who would feel extremely distressed at the illegal not gaining their citizenship, regardless of their citizenship.

      Also, even when people are denied or when they are in this act and commit crimes or fail to live up to the act, DHS still has wide latitude to not do a thing.

      No one can say, I am wrong here, this act simply will say to a majority of the illegals here, more than the youth they are suggesting. Here you are citizens but wait within six years you need to join the service or go to college, but if you don’t you can stay, if you say it will be hard to leave.

      Oh, but wait, when did you come here?

      “more than 5 years ago but at least at the time I was under 16.”

      Ok, thats good, you can stay now.

      That’s what HR 1751 says. Tell me I am wrong.

      Btw, Janet Napoliano is DHS, as Governor of Arizona she fought tooth and nail to not enforce any “illegal immigration” enacted Constitutional laws, or laws enacted by the people of Arizona. Today, she continues with mandates on limited enforcement and repatriation of criminal illegals.

      Listen, the poverty rate in the USA is near 30%, want to increase that by another 10%?

      The problem is ignoring Federal laws that are in place. And we wonder why Wall Street ignores the federal laws the same. There is no enforcement of laws, and this is one example.

      If you want “humanity” you need to end the system of exploitation and predatory practices the laws sought to end. Unless, you enforce mandates and remove the services how do you ever claim to be able to balance a budget?

      I will never forget working in the fields during the summers picking fruit, when I was maybe ten or younger, hearing some man yelling from a flat-bed truck, “Get out of the Field! You don’t need to work there!”

      That man was Ceasar Chavez. He was fighting against “child labor and exploitation.” The same insidious system of exploitation those who support “illegal immigration” are perpetuating. I later related this story to his uncle and brother in Arizona when we were sharing Cajitas (Ofrendas) during a Day of the Dead (DГ­a de los Muertos) celebration in Glendale, Arizona. Proud Americans. Mine was a military ammo box, for my father and a picture of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima for my mother. Their can be no honor in disrespecting all those who fought, who did it the right way.

      Naturalization Reform would be a better plan, than across the board amnesty for millions who “cut-in line” regardless of age, illegally.

      Name one other country in the free world that allows this? Even the EU with open borders has “workplace mandates” and strict “illegal immigration” laws. Not to say they are working.

      I am sorry, although I realize La Raza is pushing this and supporting this whole-heartly, I disagree with the belief that Atzlan is El Norte.

      Also, I have met more illegals here from Africa, and Eastern Europe than anywhere else. Maybe, its because I hear the Arabic and Russian, since I spoke those languages, once. In Washington, there are more Asians.

      There number one complaint to me is the inefficient and expensive naturalization process. I agree.

      But the Dream Act is not the answer or the fix. Enforcing our current federal laws is. Maybe, you should be honest and do that, unravel the 200 years established for the role of the “citizen” in our Republic under our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence and the hundred of years, immigrants fought for their citizenship and the rules of naturalization that have been in place since.

      I disagree with this bill and will vote and fight against its passage.

          1. It was illegal when The Patriot Act was first pushed through in the middle of the night, taking away the liberty from all Americans without due process. It was illegal when Rove corrupted the election process of 2000 and may have rigged voting machines in 2004. It was illegal when the military was torturing people in Abu Ghirab and Gitmo, violating international law. It was illegal when the US presented the case for war using evidence that had no basis in fact.

            I think those of us who were paying attention between 2000 – 2008 understand illegal pretty well, actually.

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