When my friend Sam Udani, head honcho of ILW.com, and I were discussing the DREAM Act, something interesting emerged and it's not pretty. Just who were the 42 Senators who voted to kill the DREAM Act? Senators from the same states that gave us great memories like Rosa Parks being arrested in Selma, Alabama, the killing of Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee and lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina continue their tradition of tolerance that has given the South its wonderful worldwide reputation. Sam wrote about in Immigration Daily today and I think it's worth a few more words.


Of the fourteen states that would self-identify as southern, 23 of 28 Senators voted against the Dream Act. I'm counting Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Virginia. I don't count Florida which ceased being a Southern state after it was re-populated by New Yorkers and Cubans over a period that began before I moved there with my family in 1971). Only 19 of the remaining 72 Senators sided with them. If you want to tell me racial politics have nothing to do with the immigration debate, I'll give you a nice lecture on states' rights (if you don't understand the reference, I'm sure readers will be explaining in the comments shortly).


Kudos go in particular to Republican Senators Trent Lott of Mississippi and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas who bucked the otherwise solidly anti-immigrant Republican vote in the South. They're presumably taking heat from their base today.


I'd like to think the South where I live today has gotten past the problems of the past. But immigration politics remind us that the region has a long way to go.