UCLA Prof: DREAM Act Opposition Is Fueled by Racism

And conservative lawmakers haven't done much to dispel the notion.

By Jamilah King Dec 13, 2010

Professor Kent Wong doesn’t hold back any punches. The director of UCLA’s Center for Labor Research and Education, Wong has spoken to ColorLines in the past about how the fight for the DREAM Act has helped galvanize a new generation of student activists. "Thousands of immigrant youth and students have been activated," he told Julianne Hing back in September, long before the bill’s perilous push toward a Senate vote that’s scheduled for this week. "And that’s been the variable that has brought this as far as it has come." On December 9, Wong spoke to a room full of supporters at a DREAM Act press conference and called out GOP opposition to the bill as downright racist, a notion that conservative lawmakers so far haven’t done much to dispel. "[There’s] anti-immigrant hysteria among certain Republican leaders," Wong says in the video above. "It is racism. If these young immigrants were from Ireland, Italy, or Germany, we would not have this massive out cry against the DREAM Act." He added, "It is because they are from Latin America, Asia, they are students of color that the majority of the Senate is trying to block the will of the majority."