LETTER: Save Senn speaks against militarization, 'Dream Act' at City Council meeting

November 13, 2009


I spoke this morning on a resolution being considered by the Chicago City Council Committee on Human Relations, "In Defense of Rigoberto Padilla and Other Immigrant Students Who would Benefit from the Dream Act." In case you don't know, Rigoberto came to the U.S. at age 6, is undocumented, but an excellent student and person, who got stopped for DUI, and is about to be deported in December as a result.

There was an audience of a couple of hundred, mostly young people. I received a good round applause when I finished my remarks, and various people came up to me afterwards with thumbs up and positive comments.

Here's what I said [Editor's Note: In italics]...

I want to urge support for allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S., and have higher education without any conditions. No human being is illegal. And we must understand that immigrants come to the U.S. because of the great poverty and difficult living conditions in their home country. They are just trying to make a decent life for themselves.

But at the same time I want to urge today no support for the Dream Act. What has not been mentioned so far today is that the Dream Act includes a provision to lure undocumented youth into the U.S. military and its wars of aggression. The Dream Act includes having undocumented youth who prepare to kill in the U.S. military become eligible for possible legal status-- if they are not killed first.

The Dream Act contradicts the stand that the City of Chicago City Council has about U.S. wars. On January 2003, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution 47-1 opposing the war in Iraq prior to its commencing in March 2003. On September 14, 2005, the Chicago City Council approved a resolution calling for an "immediate and orderly withdrawal" from Iraq by a vote of 29-9.

The U.S. government has plans to keep at least 50,000 troops in Iraq, and, with a probable new surge for Afghanistan, to have up to 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. And for what? Both wars are illegal in that those countries did not attack the U.S. U.S. law makes it illegal to attack another country that did not attack the U.S. And what are the aims of the war? Oil in one form or another and ensuring profits and powers for U.S. corporations. Why would we want to send young people for that, let alone to any of the 800 bases the U.S. maintains for interference and occupation around the world-- including 8 new bases being established in Colombia as we speak here today, and in Honduras where a coup overthrew the democratically elected President Zelaya.

The military is so desperate for more troops for more war that it wants undocumented youth. That is a main aim of the Dream Act. We should oppose any method for further drawing youth into the illegal and aggressive wars of the U.S. Thus we should oppose having a resolution that promotes the Dream Act. We should support the stands already taken by the City Council. #

Alderman Helen Shiller, who was chairing the hearing, explained that sometimes we have to make "trade offs" and "keep our eyes on the prize."

The committee then passed the resolution without dissent, including Alderman George Cardenas and Roberto Maldonado. "...we do hereby reaffirm our support of the DREAM Act, and call upon the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to halt removal of Rigoberto Padilla and all other young immigrant students who would be eligible to gain legal status under DREAM or other comprehensive immigration reform proposals while such legislation is under consideration in the U.S. Congress."

Neal Resnikoff, Chicago

Final edited version of this article posted at November 14, 2009, 5:00 p.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2009 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms — or you can take out a subscription to Substance (see red button to the right) and make a donation. We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502.


November 15, 2009 at 4:15 PM

By: E. MacColl, England (posted by John W.)


It's illegal to rip off the payroll, it's illegal hold up a train,

but it's legal to rip off a million or two

/That comes from the labour that other folks do,

to plunder the many on behalf of the few

Is a thing that is perfectly legal.

It's illegal to kill your landlord, or to trespass upon an estate;

but to charge high rent for a slum is okay,

to condemn two adults and three children to stay

In a hovel that's rotten with damp and decay,

It is a thing that is perfectly legal.

If your job turns you into a zombie, it's legal to feel some despair,

but don't be aggressive, that is if you're smart,

And for Christ's sake don't upset the old apple cart.

Remember the bosses have your interests at heart-

and it pains them to see you unhappy.

It's illegal to carve up your missus, or to put poison in your old man's tea,

but poison the rivers, the seas and the skies,

If it's done in the interest of free enterprise

then it's perfectly legal.

It's legal to form a trade union, and to picket is one of your rights

but don't be offensive when the scabs cross the line,

be nice to the coppers and keep this in mind:

to picket effectively, that is a crime,

worse than if you had murdered your mother.

It's legal to sing on the telly, but they make bloody sure that you don't

If you sing about racists and facists and creeps

and thieves in high places who live off the weak,

and those who are selling us right up the creek.

The twisters, the takers, the con-men, the fakers

the whole bloody gang of exploiters!

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