Navarrette’s Latest DREAMer Piece Just Perpetuates Division and Ignorance

Dec 22, 2012
3:47 PM

Publisher’s Note: I thought long and hard about giving CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette more attention on this page, since quite frankly, I have grown tired of his boorish social media behavior and the content of his columns. But maybe that is part of his master plan: to use his platform to become the Latino Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. Still, I felt that someone on our site needed to respond to his latest piece, since we have been chronicling what the DREAMers have been doing the last few years, and Navarrette continues to incite and provoke for all the wrong reasons. One person told me once that his latest pieces were like “nativist porn,” and that sums it up nicely.

I am also sure that Navarrette sincerely doesn’t care about the following column penned by one of our Rebeldes (under her pseudonym Eva Luna), but hey, from one 1990 Harvard alumnus (me) to another (him), you would think that Navarrette would focus on crafting a better voice to share his opinions, and be more humble about it. That is what real Harvard guys do.  

By the way, I don’t agree 100% with the contents of Eva’s piece, but I like the points it brings up. I do think the DREAMers have always kept Comprehensive Immigration Reform in mind, and they are a great example of how social media is trumping traditional media voices like Navarette’s. That is the biggest lesson I have learned from the DREAMers. And yes, I also think that the Obama Administration continues to fail when it comes to immigration policy. But you decide for yourself. Here is Eva’s piece. —@julito77

The DREAMer backlash against Ruben Navarrette’s latest piece “DREAMers are pushing their luck” is well-deserved. He outright name-calls this group of hard-working and brave group of kids. To quote him, “At times, these young people act like spoiled brats.”


The DREAMers have not been shy to voice their opinion at him through social media. “Tweeting up a storm” and responding on Navarrette’s own Facebook page, they have been reminding him of their advocacy for their parents and how they do larger pro-immigrant work. What Navarrette was demanding is that these kids be “passive good immigrants” who shut up, take whatever happens to them, and be grateful for the niceties of Americans.

Despite how Navarrette packages his message in condescending, mocking, and sarcastic language at an activist group of undocumented Americans, the real issue is this: DREAMers still have to grasp and address of how their focus on the DREAM Act could obscure the larger fights for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This is where Navarrette dropped the ball. He blames the young activists—not the actual policy of DREAM—for why America has yet to see Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

The problem of the DREAM Act is not the activism or demands of the DREAMers themselves, but the historical and political circumstances of the DREAM Act. Throughout the history of the USA, there have always been these boxes of immigrants that created rivals within immigrant communities. That is, there are the “good immigrants” such as WASPy Europeans and the “bad immigrants” such as the Italians and Irish.

Similarly, the DREAM Act reproduces these boxes. On one hand, there are the “good immigrants”—kids who did not make the proactive decision to break the law to cross the country. They were brought here without their permission. By default, there are the “bad immigrants”—that is, the adult members of their families—who made the conscious decision to break the law.

What DREAM policy does is to pit parents against sons and daughters, grandparents against grandchildren, neighbor against neighbor. Under Deferred Action, for example, the DREAMers would have to register with federal government, but with that, they have to show a proof of address in the US. The same address that many of their undocumented parents and extended families are now currently residing. In essence, the kids have submitted an address that Mr. Deportation King himself Obama can root out their undocumented families and neighbors.

The good immigrant/bad immigrant narrative only divides the immigrant community into black and white. That is, the ones who came in the “right legal way” or “without their consent” and the ones who came in the “wrong illegal way” consciously. For those of us who fight and advocate for just immigration reform, we know that it is very gray for what’s the right and wrong ways to enter and stay in this country. Immigration law is far too complicated, arduous and bureaucratic of a process for the immediate economic demands of the employers who are desperate for hard workers and the economic refugees who are in pain to survive.

DREAMers, the Latino Rebels applaud your activism to fight for the DREAM Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Unlike Ruben Navarrette, we are impressed by your ability to utilize social media to drive home your message and tell your personal narratives of successes against odds. We don’t think you are throwing “public tantrums” but we believe that you are agents in your life and know that you will stay agents for all immigrant communities.