The Democratic National Convention may be over but there is no shortage of it being used as an opportunity to push the so called inclusion of immigration as part of the official party platform. This is especially true as both parties try to attract both the Latino vote and donor dollars. While immigration was barely touched at the Republican National Convention, at the DNC immigration was paraded around often, usually with direct or indirect references to the DREAM Act and DREAMers.
Many immigrant organizations touted and used the DNC speech of DREAMer Benita Veliz, the first undocumented person to speak at a political convention. And while I certainly do not want to take this history from her, her speech was as formulaic as Julian Castro’s. Of course I didn’t expect her speech in any way, shape, or form to challenge the very party that invited her to stand and represent what for many has become the immigrant rights movement, a little more nuance would have been welcome especially knowing that there are DREAMers who do look at the DREAM movement(s) with a more critical lens. Not once did she even call herself undocumented. Was this the peak of co-option or moment of simple and important recognition?
The Democratic 2012 Platform (which you can see here as a PDF) doesn’t contain anything on immigration that we haven’t already heard. It promotes law and order immigration reform as a party priority, emphasizing that the undocumented need to get right with the law and learn English as Obama strengthens the border. The platform repeats the finger pointing towards the GOP for the failure of the DREAM Act that Latinos have been hearing all along, distracting us from record breaking deportations while claiming shifting enforcement priorities which are more hype than reality.