Harry Reid and the DREAM Act - How out-of-touch can one man be?
Senator Reid (D-NV) inserted the DREAM Act provision into the Defense Authorization legislation in September. Arguing that the DREAM Act had too little relevance to defense, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the defense authorization bill, temporarily ending the push by Reid.
Under the bill, students age 12-35 at the time of the enactment of the law who came to the United States before they were 16 and were raised in the United States continuously for at least five years, graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED or joined the military and are of “good moral character” could gain permanent legal status. It could grant citizenship to an estimated 800,000 to one million illegal immigrant youths who complete high school or military service.
A few months ago I granted an interview to National Progressive Radio (NPR). (Now there’s a place we can begin reducing the federal budget.) The NPR host asked me if I would support the DREAM Act as a path to citizenship. I responded that there was already a path to citizenship and that the nation’s immigration laws and regulations need to be enforced. And I expressed my belief that if the nation’s immigration laws were uniformly enforced todo ello the country would have more available resources for accelerating citizenship applications. I wasn’t a big hit with NPR.
The DREAM Act Portal website makes a compelling argument:
“Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. Most get the opportunity to test their dreams and live their American story. However, a group of approximately 65,000 youth do not get this opportunity; they are smeared with an inherited title, an illegal immigrant. These youth have lived in the United States for most of their lives and want nothing more than to be recognized for what they are, Americans.I can admit that I have struggled with this. If my family lived in some other countries and, solely because we lived there, my children were malnourished, under-educated and inadequately clothed, I would risk my life to get them to a better place with adequate food, clothing and opportunity. I understand why we have so many illegal immigrants.
“The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation…that can solve this hemorrhaging injustice in our society. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service.”
I wanted to write here that their children become the ultimate victims, living under the stigma and insecurity of growing up as an illegal alien, which is true. The fact is, that life is better than the one they escaped. But there is such a thing as doing the right thing the wrong way.
Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform was clearly right when he said
Passage will “send a clear message to parents that violating U.S. immigration laws will result in eventual citizenship and access to expensive taxpayer-financed benefits for their kids.”It is one matter to fail to enforce our nation’s laws. It is another entirely to reward those who break them.
I would that America had such limitless resources that we could throw open our doors and without restriction or caution say,
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
America does not have that unlimited capacity. Our ultimate demise lies at the end of our attempt to act otherwise.
It is adequately tragic that the children of illegal aliens are victims of their parents’ illicit actions. It is deplorable that Reid would use their plight for no other purpose than to attempt to advance his party’s political fortunes.
 “DREAM” – the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act introduced March 26, 2009 by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R- IN).
Curtis Coleman is the President of The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service.
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