Senator Menendez recently told the editorial board of the New Jersey Star-Ledger that the best time to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) would be after the 2010 November elections:
This is unacceptable. Waiting until November needlessly gambles with the lives of migrant youth who would benefit from the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
Migrant youth have been strung along for almost a year and a half of the Obama administration in pursuit of a phantom CIR bill in the Senate which has yet to even be written. Waiting until after the November elections is an irresponsible gambit that could relegate another generation of unauthorized migrant youth to a precarious nonexistence. It will also further cripple some of the most effective current and future leaders of the pro-migrant movement.
Our movement recently lost 19 year-old Gustavo Rezende, a DREAM Act eligible youth, to suicide.
His blood is on the hands of all of the leaders of the pro-migrant movement who failed to grant him an existence he could bare in the only country he knew as his home. We can wash our hands of that blood and pass the DREAM Act now, or continue to use migrant youth as political pawns in an attempt to pass CIR.
It’s time to start treating the migrant youth movement with the respect it deserves. Passing the DREAM Act now would not endanger CIR. The DREAM Act is a down payment on CIR. It would lay the foundation for truly pro-migrant immigration reform. No human being is illegal, and no human being should be treated as a political pawn.