National columnist Ruben Navarrette thinks some Dreamers, certain undocumented kids granted a two-year-ban from deportation by the Obama administration, are acting like spoiled brats. They’re blowing immigration reform possibilities for others by becoming radicalized, he contends. Keep in mind Ruben Navarrette is a Latino, and quite liberal. But certain Dreamers, and not all Dreamers, he points out, are starting to annoy him because, he says, they feel too entitled, just like other American young people. The gist of his story is that some Dreamers have become so politically radicalized they’re making a bad name for other Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants. It’s an uncomfortable argument, especially for a liberal like Ruben Navarrette.
In response, Gregory Pratt, also a liberal Latino columnist, writes that Dreamers are not spoiled brats, but extraordinarily humble and hardworking heroes. He writes:
“Don’t believe me that the DREAMers are extraordinary people? Go read my story about Angelica Hernandez, an undocumented valedictorian in electrical engineering at Arizona State University. Or check outUndocumented Inc., a cover story I wrote about DREAM Act students who have started their own small businesses.
In that piece I highlighted Lilly Romo, a talented young woman who couldn’t attend nursing school because she lacked a social security number, so she started her own English school; Celso Mireles, an ASU graduate who listened to President Obama deliver the commencement speech at ASU in 2009 then went to work Colorado alfalfa fields days later; or Dulce Matuz, then a real estate agent who is currently President of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition. She was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine this spring.”
Ok, so now I’ll weigh in. I think both writers speak the truth. Navarrette is right — some Dreamers have been radicalized to the point of harming their movement’s image, and, honestly, grating on nerves. But as Pratt points out, the Dreamers he knows (and I know) are uncomplaining, strong, smart and kind human beings who have been through more hardships than most of us can imagine.
I believe the good-kids image prevails and and makes Dreamers the most attractive and beloved immigrant group in America.
The problem, of course, is that because Dreamers are so beloved — and so young — they have to steer clear of manipulators who want to use them for the political gain of others.
Azcvoices.com is a network of community bloggers created by The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News to highlight diverse viewpoints. Members' opinions do not represent the views of Republic Media.
Bio: Journalist Terry Greene Sterling has lived in Arizona most of her life, and has reported on the political brawls and human tragedies that have long made Arizona the focus of national news. She was raised on an Arizona cattle ranch, and learned to speak Spanish at the same time she learned English. The author of Illegal, Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone, Sterling has been honored with more than 50 national and regional journalism awards. She was named Virg Hill Journalist of the Year, Arizona’s highest journalism honor, three times. She was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times for 14 years before branching out on her own. She is a contributor for The Daily Beast, and Writer-in-Residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek.com, Salon.com, Rollingstone.com, The Nieman Narrative Digest, Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, High Country News, and Preservation Magazine. She tweets @tgsterling and blogs about immigration in Arizona at terrygreenesterling.com.