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Feisty, outspoken Dreamers are true Americans

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

You have to hand it to these kids. They may not be legal U.S. residents, but they have proved to be excellent judges of character. Because of their precarious legal status, they also pay close attention to the immigration debate. So in this legislative version of Three-Card Monte, they're not fooled by the Democrats' sleight of hand and always seem to know where the target card is.

These young people have figured out something that still eludes many partisans on the pro-immigrant left: Democrats have not done right by the Dreamers. This was no oversight. It's not that Democrats lacked the votes or had other legislative priorities. Instead, this was a deliberate calculation by the Democratic Party that it couldn't afford to adopt the Dreamers and get branded the "amnesty" party. Put simply, Democrats could have led on immigration but they didn't have the guts.

And it's not just Pelosi and Emanuel who are guilty of playing games with this delicate issue. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer all failed the leadership test.

After I explained all this to my dad, he had a new appreciation for Dreamers. These rabble-rousers have a healthy skepticism that his generation of Latino Democrats lacked.

"So what you're saying is that they're smart," he said.

Yes, that's what I'm saying. That's another reason to do everything we can to keep them in this country, the only home they have ever known. It's also pretty solid evidence that conservatives are wrong if they think the Dreamers are Democrats in waiting. They're up for grabs.

Ornery. Outspoken. Strong-willed. Independent-minded. With just a touch of entitlement.

What do they call people like that? Answer: Americans.

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Ruben Navarrette's email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group

 

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