The question from the reporter was simple enough: "So, what do you think of the DREAMers?"
My answer was anything but simple.
In fact, I'm rethinking my stance on the estimated 1.8 million undocumented young people in the United States who were brought here by their parents when they were children and have lived the lives of typical American youth — which is both a blessing and a curse.
I still have the same criticisms: Many DREAMers feel entitled and think the world revolves around them because they're spoiled by the attention they get from a movement that puts them front and center. Most of them are outmatched when dealing with politicians because they don't understand how deceptive and manipulative politics can be. And the DREAMers' tactics, i.e., disrupting congressional hearings and occupying the offices of members of Congress — including those of "friendlies" such as Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., one of the loudest voices for immigration reform — do more harm than good.
Yet I have a new respect for the DREAMers. As I watch them, I realize that they're doing a much better job than most U.S.-born Hispanics — especially Mexican-Americans — of not being blinded by loyalty and instead cutting through the nonsense in our political system. They're trying to hold President Barack Obama and Democrats accountable for the left's duplicitous approach to immigration. It's not easy, but the DREAMers are giving liberals a well-deserved spanking.
Here is the left's game plan on immigration: Democrats will purposely light up Republicans by asking for the moon and stars, such as full citizenship for about 11 million illegal immigrants who are likely to become reliable Democratic voters.
Republicans naturally withhold their support and a few of them will probably also implode by saying crazy and racist things, thereby repelling Hispanics and sending them into the waiting arms of Democrats. Immigration reform will die, which will please Democrats because they don't have to get crossways with blue-collar workers and organized labor — a powerful constituency that is afraid to compete for jobs with newly legalized immigrants who tend to be hungrier and work harder.
The plan is elementary, but it's been proved to be effective. So we can expect to see this strategy again in the next few months now that Obama has rebooted the debate by announcing his intention to pursue immigration reform as his next domestic policy initiative.
Many U.S. Hispanics — who in 2012 rewarded Obama for deporting a record number of undocumented immigrants (most of them Hispanic) by giving him 71% of their votes — fall for this ploy every time.
Not the DREAMers.
Recently, a group of them protested outside the White House, demanding that Obama stop his deportation surge. While Hispanic activist groups, which usually are run by U.S.-born Hispanics and white liberals, and nonprofit reform advocates continue to advance the narrative that Republicans are the only snag to achieving immigration reform, the DREAMers figured out which end of Pennsylvania Avenue is responsible for removing illegal immigrants. Hint: It's not the one where you find Congress.
Bravo. DREAMers want results, real leadership and an immigration system worthy of a great country. As should we all.
Ruben Navarrette is a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Email: email@example.com.