While 2010 didn’t end the way it should have, it was still a successful year for the movement behind the DREAM Act. But before talking about the good, it’s best to get the bad out of the way. The bad, unfortunately, starts with our own Senator Kay Hagan.

Hagan was the deciding vote against the DREAM Act. If you have a heart at all for progress on immigration, this is a shameful moment. Having worked so hard on this issue this year, it was difficult—embarrassing even—to have our senator cast the deciding vote. Once again, the Senate toyed with the lives of millions of young people. The Department of Homeland Security deported more people than ever last year—392,000—many of whom who were DREAM-Act eligible—under the justification that ramped up enforcement would buy more Republican votes. Obviously that failed to prove true, and the greatest window of opportunity for reform ever has closed.

We also faced difficulties from within our own movement. Advocacy groups continued to push omnibus legislation long after the public dialogue had shifted away from it. Without elaborating too much (that will be the subject of a later post), we were simply not as united nationwide as we should have been. Changes will be made, new alliances forged, and copious notes of mistakes we made will be reviewed.

In a year, a grassroots movement of small state-based groups was able to do more for the DREAM Act than in an entire decade of political games. DREAMers were able to lobby Capitol Hill and win votes—deriving from power built on high-profile direct action. People are paying attention to what the young people themselves say and do. That movement now has a broadening coalition of allies, including Lt. Dan Choi and the NAACP, which will help us to future victories.

This year will present new challenges. The most conservative General Assembly in over a century will take control, and is likely to pass anti-immigrant legislation. We will stop all of our elected officials from voting on anti-immigrant legislation on the federal level.

With this in mind, “reform” is simply not enough—we need a strong and robust movement for rights.

We are still here. We are still in action. And with your help, we will win.

Here’s to the New Year, a new plan and new victories,

The NC DREAM Team

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