In their efforts to bring down the DREAM Act, which would give children of undocumented immigrants who complete college or volunteer for the military a path to citizenship, conservatives have been smearing the bill as “backdoor amnesty” for undocumented immigrants and claiming it creates a loophole for terrorists. Unfortunately, many of their attacks have also taken on racial undertones. Yesterday, Fox News host Glenn Beck told a caller on his radio show that the bill would disenfranchise white people, saying, “if you’re white or you’re an American citizen or a white American citizen, you’re pretty much toast.” Beck suggested his caller steal a Mexican ID card in to receive the supposedly preferential treatment minorities will receive under DREAM.
While clearly bigoted, Beck’s comments appeared to have the joking tone of a self-described “rodeo clown.” But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was not joking when he took to the House floor Wednesday to warn that voting for “the Affirmative Action Amnesty Act,” as he dubbed DREAM, will “relegate the position of non-minority American citizens to behind those who are now in this country illegally.”
Appearing on Radio America with Greg Corombus yesterday, Rohrabacher expanded on the dangers to white people of DREAM, explaining that the “real zinger” is that it puts minorities “ahead of every American child who’s not a minority.” “[T]hey can get into college before our kids,” Rohrabacher said on behalf of white people everywhere, warning ominously at the end of the interview that “if Americans aren’t alerted to this, we’re going to lose our freedom”:
ROHRABACHER: And one thing that people don’t talk, and this is the real zinger. … So they go to college, they finish, they get their legal status. Well, if that person happens to be a minority, which many, as we know, illegal aliens are Hispanic in background and other minorities, they then are immediately eligible to all the preferences we have written into our laws.
So we’re not only putting them in the line, so to speak, but we’re putting them ahead of every American child who’s not a minority. You put them at the front of the line for government education program, for jobs, for all the other preferences that we’ve written into our law. This is outrageous! Not only are we paying them money, that should be going to our kids education, but we’re making it so they can get accepted to college before our kids can get into. [...]
Please alert the people, if Americans aren’t alerted to this, we’re going to lose our freedom and we know it’s in jeopardy right now.
Of course, the DREAM Act is not amnesty, nor is it affirmative action, and it is certainly not a measure to oppress white people. The bill extends conditional legal status for five years to young people who are upstanding citizens and in this country illegally by not fault of their own. It will also help enforce immigration laws, reduce the deficit, and strengthen the military, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Rohrabacher or Beck.