Laurent Leonard said he was not surprised the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act failed in the Senate in December 2010. Leonard, 42, said the 55-41 vote reflects the bigger picture.
“To me, this [is] about Republicans not allowing anyone a chance to get further,” he said. “I don’t understand why we’re holding each other back.”
The DREAM Act would have afforded undocumented citizens who entered the United States prior to age 16 the opportunity to obtain a green card.
Leonard said he supports the DREAM Act and thinks the Senate vote was unfair to the undocumented youth.
“What if they didn’t have a say in whether or not they could stay in their country of origin?” he asked.
Leonard said he thought it was hypocritical of the U.S. government to decide who can or can’t live in the U.S.
“We can fly over to other countries like Iraq, but [undocumented youth] can’t be given a fair chance to get citizenship?” he said. “If you ask me, those politics show that we need to take care of our own before we fly off elsewhere.”
Leonard added he was worried what undocumented youth would have to resort to in order to survive if they couldn’t utilize their education and skills in an appropriate work setting.
“They deserve to put their [college or military] training to use,” he said. “For me, it’s about everyone having the chance to find a way to live a better life.”
“Taking that chance away from them puts them in a position to resort to terrible means, such as drug [trafficking] and crime, in order to survive,” Leonard added. “And that’s sad.”
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.