How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

From readers, more thoughts on the Dream Act

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A homemade poster on the wall of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, where student activists gathered to call legislators before the House vote on the Dream Act earlier this month. December 8, 2010

Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion on the Dream Act this weekend, after Saturday's procedural vote in the Senate. I spent the morning with a group of students and other supporters as they made last-minute calls to legislators and watched the vote take place on C-SPAN, posting updates as the voting proceeded. The bill fell five votes short of the 60 needed for cloture, with 55 senators voting for it and 41 against, mostly along partisan lines.

After it was over, Multi-American readers posted comments in what became a rather heated debate. Here's an excerpt from one typical back-and-forth, unedited.

Argentinachick13 wrote:

I’m 17 years old. I came to this country when I was 6 years old. I’m a Junior in Highschool, good grades, never got in trouble by cops. The one thing I want, and that I’m missing? A future. I want to go to college, I want a career, I want an opportunity. Yes I was born in another country (Argentina) but I grew up here, I made friends here, I have a life here, I’m going the right path for a good future. I can’t just throw all my hard work, dedication, and friends away and go back to Argentina and having to start all over again.

Just because I was born somewhere else, doesn’t make me less of a person. I’m still a human being, who wants to get somewhere in life. I was watching the debate this morning. I had tears in my eyes because we were short of 5 points. And I ask myself, what’s going to happen now? Hopefully the selfish senates will make the right decision and not think of themselves for a chage, and let other people have an opportunity too. can only hope.

To which Coryrck replied:
Your the selfish one not MY senates! You dont deserve anything you are here illegally. My grandparents fought and died for this country…..what have your ancestors done for this country besides LIVE HERE ILLEGALLY AND TAKE HONEST LEGAL AMERICAN JOBS,MONEY, AND BENEIFITS. You and eyour family havent earned the right to call yourself an american bc you are ILLEGAL! Go back to argentina where you belong american doesnt need you!!!

Yes, the exchanges got a little intense at times. But thanks, folks, for at least keeping the language PG-rated this time around.
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