21st Century America Project

For years the team at NDN/NPI has been a leader in helping policymakers better understand the changing demographics of the United States. We are excited to announce that we are bringing our demographic and public opinion research together under a single banner: The 21st Century America Project. The project will feature work by Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, NDN/NPI Fellows, authors of the critically acclaimed book Millenial Makeover; Alicia Menendez, our new Senior Advisor, who has extensive experience working in these emergent communities; and other NDN/NPI Fellows and collaborators.

Below, please find some of the highlights of our past work on 21st Century America:

2010 Highlights

A Continued Look at the Changing Coalitions of 21st Century America, Poll and Presentation, by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Hispanics Rising 2010

The American Electorate of the 21st Century, Poll and Presentation, by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Millennial Makeover, a blog by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Data Matters Columns, a blog by Mike Hais

2009 Highlights

The Drop Dobbs Campaign

The Anti Vitter-Bennett Amendment Campaign

The New Constituents: How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census, by Andres Ramirez

NDN Backgrounder: Census 2010, Immigration Status and Reapportionment, by Andres Ramirez

Latino Vote in 2008, by Andres Ramirez

2008 Highlights

End of the Southern Strategy, by Simon Rosenberg

Hispanics Rising II

2007 Highlights

The 50 Year Strategy, by Simon Rosenberg and Peter Leyden in Mother Jones

Menendez Immigration Bill On The Horizon

With the Senate set to adjourn in a couple weeks and The DREAM Act currently in legislative limbo, attention has turned to Senator Robert Menendez who has indicated that he will drop his own immigration legislation before the Senate adjourns for the Mid-Term elections.

Earlier this month Senator Menendez and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus  met with President Barrack Obama to discuss passing the DREAM Act and the possibility of immigration legislation in the lame duck. From USA Today, Oval Office blog, Obama still committed to 'comprehensive immigration reform':

The White House said that, in the meeting with Obama, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., "discussed the comprehensive immigration reform bill that he plans to introduce in the coming weeks. The president told Senator Menendez that he looks forward to reviewing the bill, noting that he strongly supported the proposal that Senate Democrats outlined earlier this year."

After Senator Menendez's meeting at the White House he announced he was going to be moving forward on his own immigration bill in the Senate. Sam Youngman, of the Hill has more HERE:

Sen. Robert Menendez said Thursday he will introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate before the year's end.

He made the announcement at the White House after a meeting with President Obama.

Menendez also conceded the legislation will only serve as a vehicle that can be reintroduced in the next Congress, but added that Obama told him that he supports the senator's plan to move forward with a bill.

Politico's Scott Wong notes HERE that the legislation is likely to be heavy on border security:

His announcement Wednesday, before about 200 pro-immigration activists at a church near Capitol Hill, came a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled he would try to pass a separate bill next week providing citizenship to young, undocumented immigrants if they attend college for two years or join the military.

Sources familiar with the Menendez bill said it would include border security provisions, employment verification, a temporary-worker program and a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants now living in the U.S

Senator Menendez said the following at a rally in front of 200 immigration activists:

“A journey of a 1,000 miles begin with a single step,” said Menendez, the Senate’s lone Hispanic member. “There can be no chance if there is no legislation. The reality is that legislation gives the process, the vehicle by which to garner support and to move forward.”

Durbin To Re-Introduce DREAM Act On The Floor Today

After the Defense Authorization Bill failed to gain enough votes to proceed forward, Senator Richard Durbin  announced that he will bring the DREAM Act back to the Senate floor today.

Elise Foley of the Washington Independent writes in her article Durbin to Re-Introduce DREAM Act on Senate Floor Today:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced today he plans to bring the DREAM Act to the floor again today so it will be “poised and ready to be called” as a standalone bill or an amendment. That’s not to say it will happen soon, though. Durbin said it might not be possible to pass the act for some undocumented students and military service members to gain legal status until a lame duck session or even the next session of Congress.

Senator Durbin is a passionate supporter of the DREAM Act:

“We’re not giving up,” he told DREAM Act supporters at an event organized by Campus Progress. “This is not the end of the fight, it’s just the beginning.”

Durbin has been a longtime champion of the DREAM Act, and said yesterday’s Republican filibuster of the defense authorization bill (the DREAM Act was a planned amendment) was “a sad moment.” It showed the DREAM Act does not have enough votes to pass, he said, but this could change if voters and student activists continue to pressure senators.

Asked about the possibility of passing the DREAM Act in the lame duck congressional session after the elections:

Asked whether senators could pass the DREAM Act in a lame duck system, Durbin said he was trying to be optimistic. “Some members of the Senate who are not going to return may vote in our favor,” he said. “I hope that’s the case.”

It is important to note that reintroducing the DREAM Act in the Senate is largely a procedural move, and no immediate action appears to be imminent.

Reid Keeps Dream Act Alive, McConnell Tries To Prevent DREAM From Being Added to Defense Authorization

Yesterday Republican Senators unanimously voted against moving forward to debate the Defense Authorization bill, which has put an up or down vote on the DREAM Act in limbo for the foreseeable future.

Scanning some of the chatter on the internet, there seems to be some confusion about why Senate Majority Leader voted no at the last minute on the motion to proceed to Defense Authorization. David Herszenhorn of the New York Times has why in his article Defense Bill, With Provision on Gay Ban, Stalls in Senate:

Mr. Reid switched his vote to "no" at the last minute, a procedural maneuver that allowed him to call for a revote.

To be clear, because of Senate procedure, in order for Senate Majority Leader Reid to be able to call the bill up again in the future he had to vote no at the end of yesterday's vote.

The Senate Majority Leader has long been a supporter of the DREAM Act and vowed yesterday to bring the bill back up for a vote, from CSPAN 2:

I also want everyone within the sound of my voice to know we're going to vote on the DREAM Act its only a question of when.

Now, Senate Republicans have said that Democrats have been playing politics with the Defense Authorization bill. Yet, Senate Minority Leader McConnell put out a press release after the vote indicating that he could not support the bill because of the Dont Ask Dont Tell amendment, which was attached to the bill. From Senate Minority Leader McConnell's release:

Democrats have decided to put their own political interests ahead of the collective judgment of our military service chiefs, who are still in the midst of a study about whether “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” can be repealed without hurting combat readiness.

Fair enough, the Senate Minority Leader wants to give the military time to conduct their study... If DADT was the Senate GOP's problem with the Defense Authorization Bill then why did the Senate Minority Leader attempt to file a consent agreement that would bar any IMMIGRATION Amendments from the defense legislation. From CSPAN 2 Senate Minority Leader McConnell's floor statement is below

As I was saying I have indicated to my friend the Majority Leader that I was going to propound a consent agreement, and I will do that at this time, I ask consent that the Senate now proceed to the consideration of the Defense Authorization bill provided further that amendments be offered in an alternating fashion, between this aisle and that, that the first twenty amendments offered be Defense related amendments within the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee, with no amendment related to immigration in order during the first twenty amendments.

The Minority Leaders statements above show that the Senate GOP would not have let either bill go ahead, either in combination or separate. It would seem that the Senate GOP did not want to pass either The DREAM Act or Dont Ask Dont Tell. Highlighting the GOP's duplicity with their no vote on DADT, DREAM Act and Defense Authorization, Senator Richard Durbin said it best, also from CSPAN2:

I would say to my friends and colleagues on both sides of the aisle, where is the justice in this decision, at least have the courage to let us bring this matter to the floor and stand up and vote NO!

But to hide behind this procedural ruse, this unanimous consent request is totally unfair it is inconsistent with the spirit and history of this chamber where we deliberate and debate and vote, but they ran and they hid behind this procedural decision.


GOP Unanimously Votes Against Motion To Move To Defense Authorization, Stalling DREAM Act In Senate

David Herszenhorn of the New York Times has the full story on the failure to invoke cloture on the Defense Authorization Bill in the senate. The Defense bill would have been a vehicle for an up or down vote on the DREAM Act, in his story Defense Bill, With Provision on Gay Ban, Stalls in Senate: 

Senate Republicans voted unanimously to block debate of the bill — the huge, annual authorization of military programs — after the majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said he would attach a number of the Democrats’ election-year priorities to it while also moving to limit the amendments offered by Republicans.

The final vote was 56 - 43:

The vote was 56 to 43, with Democrats falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and take up the bill. The Arkansas Democrats, Senators Blanche L. Lincoln and Mark Pryor, sided with all 41 Republicans in opposing debate.

While Democrats criticized Republicans for killing the chance to have an up or down vote on the DREAM Act it is unclear how an actual vote on the immigration legislation would have turned out:

While Democrats immediately sought to blame Republicans for obstructing both the immigration measure, which is known as the Dream Act, and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” it is unclear how the measures would have fared were the military bill brought up under less intense political circumstances.

...From a policy perspective, the immigration measure was more controversial and Democrats seemed likely to face opposition to it not only by Republicans but from within their own ranks. Adding the measure to the bill would similarly require 60 votes, and aides in both parties said the effort would likely have failed.

The Human Face of The DREAM Act

Below is a video of DREAM Activists on Fox and Friends this morning. These activists present the struggles of immigrants who would benefit from the DREAM Act with conviction, and advocate on behalf of this legislation with  class seldom seen on cable news these days.

DREAM Act Vote In The Senate Today

... And it all comes down to this, at 2:15 PM eastern the Senate will vote cloture on a motion to proceed to the Defense Authorization Legislation. As of now, Defense Authorization does not contain the DREAM Act, however Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will attach the legislation as an amendment if it passes cloture today.

It should be very clear, that while Republican's currently bemoan the fact that the DREAM Act is not germane to Defense Authorization, and say that it's inclusion will cost their vote, DREAM is not actually attached to the bill that will be voted on today.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 CRS bill summary shows that the DREAM Act has not yet been added as an amendment.

Though there is wide support for the DREAM Act, among Democrats, and military personnel, at this point it is not looking very good for the Defense Authorization bill as a whole.  Peter Shrag of the LA Times has more in his story Dashing the DREAM Act:

The chances that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can deliver on his promise to move the so-called DREAM Act toward passage in the Senate this week range from slim to none.

But the announcement that it would be added as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill has energized pro-immigrant groups, even as it underlines the fact that there'll be no comprehensive immigration reform any time in the near future. Not this year, certainly, and probably not next year either.

The article also does a great job at showing exactly what is at stake for immigrants:

The bipartisan DREAM (for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which was to have been part of comprehensive reform, would make it possible for as many as 2.1 million undocumented young immigrants to start on the path to legalization. Roughly 26% are in California. In the Senate, the leading sponsors are Republican Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Democrat Richard J. Durbin of Illinois. In the House, they are Democrats Howard L. Berman of Valley Village and Lucille Roybal-Allard of East Los Angeles and Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida.

Even if the DOD Authorization fails to move past a cloture vote today and there is no vote on the DREAM Act, it is possible that the legislation is punted to a lame duck session after the elections.

Washington Post writer Edward Schumacher-Matos notes that even if there is no vote, there may be a positive outcome for Democrats and Activists. Matos has the full story in his article Dems playing politics with immigration -- and it's good policy:

And it's about time the Democrats got politically tough, because the amendment is also good policy.

This might also help Democratic candidates in states such as California, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, where the Latino vote makes a difference. Immigration is second only to jobs in importance to Latinos, according to polls, but they were feeling forsaken by Obama and the Democrats over stalled comprehensive reform.

Colin Powell Urges Republican Party To Stop Being Anti-Immigrant Help Pass DREAM ACT

Colin Powell appeared on Meet the Press and defended immigrants, and challenged the GOP not to be Anti Immigrant. The video is below.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Democrats Fight For DREAM Act As GOP Continue To Threaten To Block Legislation

As the first procedural vote on the DREAM Act nears, partisan battle lines are being drawn. Arizona Senator John McCain has angrily denounced attaching the legislation as an amendment to the Defense Re-Authorization Bill.

Seth McLaughlin of the Washington Times has the full story in McCain Rips Defense Bill Amendments:

"This is turning legislation related to our national defense and military preparedness into a vehicle to force a partisan agenda through the Senate," he said. "What's worse, the majority leader is pushing this controversial agenda under the cover of supporting our troops, knowing that the National Defense Authorization Act is a must-pass bill, and whatever else is in it will inevitably become law as a result."

It is somewhat ironic that Senator McCain would characterize the DREAM Act as "Controversial,"  because when he was a presidential candidate in 2008, he endorsed the DREAM Act going so far a to put out this release which says:

McCain was a co-sponsor of The DREAM Act of 2007, and an earlier Senate bill that provided for comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act of 2006. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act of 2005

While flip-flopping on immigration is nothing new for Senator McCain, his complaint that the DREAM Act is not germane to the Defense Re-Authorization is also intellectually dishonest.

Senator Richard Durbin pointed out on the Senate floor, that DREAM was not only germane to Defense Re-Authorization, but has the support of the military.

"The DoD bill is an appropriate vehicle for DREAM Act because 10s of 1,000s of highly qualified young people would enlist in armed forces"

In fact according to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the DREAM Act is recommended by the military because it will

Help shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.

Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, continued to defend passing the DREAM Act:

"I hope that he will do the right thing and support this bill that not only funds critical support for our troops like weapons upgrades and pay raises, but also ensures that our military reflects our nation's values," he said.

Reid: McCain Should Not Block DREAM Act

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has engaged Senator John McCain on his threat to block Defense Authorization Legislation unless the DREAM Act,  Repealing of both Dont Ask Dont Tell and  Secret Holds Amendments are stripped out.

Senate Majority Leader Reid's quote is below:

“Any American so courageous and patriotic that he or she wants to serve our country in the military should be able to do so. 

Senator McCain and anyone else who thinks the DREAM Act is not directly related to our national security should talk to the brave young men and women who want to defend our country but are turned away. 

And he should also talk to our military leaders in the Defense Department who have said that America’s military readiness depends on recruiting as many well-qualified men and women as possible. 

The Defense Department’s strategic plan explicitly states that passage of the DREAM Act is critical to helping the military ‘shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.’  And many of our generals in the field believe that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ harms troop morale and combat readiness.

Senator McCain should know better than anyone that patriots who step up to serve our grateful nation should be offered a path to citizenship, and that anyone who volunteers to serve should be welcomed regardless of their sexual orientation.  I hope that he will do the right thing and support this bill that not only funds critical support for our troops like weapons upgrades and pay raises, but also ensures that our military reflects our nation’s values.”

DREAM Act Vote Early As Next Week

Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the DREAM Act will come to a vote in the Senate as early as next week.

Suzanne Gamboa of the Associated Press has the full details in her story Immigrants Measure Could Come Before Senate:

The Nevada Democrat said at a Capitol news conference that the legislation known as the DREAM Act is long overdue. But he wouldn't say whether he has the votes for the amendment. The act allows young people who attend college or join the military to become legal U.S. residents.

However Senate Majority Leader did note that he may not have the votes to pass the legislation:

Asked whether he had the votes for the DREAM Act, Reid responded: "I sure hope so."

One thing is for sure the politics surrounding the timing of this vote are complex:

President Barack Obama has been under fire in the immigrant and Hispanic communities because Congress has failed to move an immigration reform bill despite his promise to address the issue in his first year in the Oval Office.

Some critics say Democrats' end-of-the-year push on immigration reform is a political move. Reid is facing a tough re-election challenge from tea party favorite Sharron Angle, who supports tougher immigration laws. Hispanics make up a quarter of Nevada's population.

Even within the Congressional Hispanic Caucus there is some skepticism around the move to introduce the legislation. Kathleen Hunter of Roll Call has the full details in her story Hispanic Representatives Seek Assurance About Reid's Plan:

“I want to see what the Senate comes up with,” said Democratic House Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.), the chamber’s highest-ranking Hispanic lawmaker. “The concern is, will it be a constructive fix? Will the Senate move the ball forward on fixing the system? If the Senate can move the ball forward on fixing the system, I don’t think anyone’s going to object to that.”

As positive a development as this has been, some members worry that this could derail carefully laid plans for other immigration legislation:

Hispanic Caucus Vice Chairman Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) said Hispanic lawmakers were concerned that other provisions, such as a worker program for farm laborers or visa rules, could also get tacked onto the Senate proposal, a scenario that might anger stakeholders, such as the business community, that overhaul advocates had worked hard to bring to the table.

“The DREAM Act has to be a clean DREAM Act. It cannot include other aspects,” Gonzalez said. “We figured it would be tied in with other provisions that are part of a comprehensive reform measure, and we don’t want that.”

Nicole Allen of The Atlantic notes that there may be a larger strategic plan for putting DREAM in the Defense Authorization Bill:

By slipping DREAM into the defense authorization bill, Reid sets a potential trap for Republicans: vote against the immigration measure and risk being portrayed as stiffing the troops less than two months before midterm elections.

Votes are expected early next week.

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