The Coming Latino Revolt

Bryan Curtis, Daily Beast, December 1, 2010

It’s zero hour for the DREAM Act, a bit of immigration legislation that has taken on a hulking importance among Hispanic leaders. For two years, Barack Obama failed–or, if you prefer, refused–to nudge along a major immigration bill. The last-ditch hope is that departing Democrats, and a few Republicans, somehow band together in the lame-duck session and pass a law allowing illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors to gain citizenship. Harry Reid promised to bring up the bill for a Senate cloture vote this week. Republicans vowed to scuttle it, just as they did in September

But as Chicago congressman Luis Gutiérrez prepares for a rally at a church in Brooklyn a few weeks before the vote, the DREAM Act seems like the end of his interest in congressional gamesmanship rather than the start. Gutiérrez is one of several Hispanic leaders who have found themselves politically estranged from the president. {snip}

{snip} No, when the lame duck ends, Gutiérrez and his movement allies will ask for a divorce–from the Democratic Party, from the entire lawmaking process. To hear Gutiérrez tell it, Hispanic leaders are about to stage a full-tilt campaign of direct action, like the African-American civil-rights movement of the 1960s. There will be protests, marches, sit-ins–what César Chávez might have called going rogue. The movement will operate autonomously, no longer beholden to wavering Democrats, filibustering Republicans, and–perhaps most tantalizingly–no longer beholden to Barack Obama.

{snip}

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