One of the finer reporters ever to pick up a notepad in Minnesota is a gent by the name of Gregory Pratt. His one-year stint with former alt-weekly (and now the local Village Voice outlet) City Pages provided a passel of excellent stories from his keyboard. (How good is he? My friend Sally Jo Sorensen, herself one of the five best reporters currently working in the state, calls him the “little lion man” and “honey badger“. That’s high praise, coming from her.)
One of Pratt’s beats is the undocumented-worker beat, which he’s been on throughout his career; here’s a piece he did on it for the Phoenix New Times. He has a fine piece out at Vive Lo Hoy called “The DREAMers I Know”, and it’s well worth your time.
You may have heard of CNN commenator Ruben Navarette, Jr.’s recent attack on advocates for the undocumented, aka the DREAMers (so named in reference to the DREAM Act); he called them, among other things, “spoiled brats”. The piece touched off a furious reaction among Latino activists and media figures. (Ironically enough, Navarette Jr. had just two months written a piece decrying the lack of civility in modern political discussions. But I digress.)
I don’t recognize the people Navarrette is talking about, partly because he’s alluding to a reality I don’t believe exists and partly because he neglects to name a single pampered DREAMer.
The DREAMers I’ve met are smart, hard-working and humble, much less entitled than almost anyone I know, though there is considerable frustration with the American political process. After all, the DREAM Act, which had President Obama’s support, was supported by majorities in both houses — but isn’t law due to the arcane filibuster deployed by Senate Republicans.
Don’t believe me that the DREAMers are extraordinary people? Go read my story about Angelica Hernandez, an undocumented valedictorian in electrical engineering at Arizona State University. Or check out Undocumented Inc., a cover story I wrote about DREAM Act students who have started their own small businesses.
Again, go read it. It’s a thing of beauty, much more so than the nasty piece that provoked it. Pratt (who you may follow at @royalpratt on Twitter) takes Navarette Jr. to task, in a gentle yet relentless way that should leave a mark, if Navarette Jr. has a conscience.