In the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, Democrats are going to push for passage of the Dream Act, the poison pill Sen. Harry Reid cynically attached to legislation that would have resulted in ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” right before the November elections. The G.O.P. blocked the provision, which was really just Harry’s (successful) effort to stave off defeat in his re-election bid by pandering to the Hispanic vote. The fact that he ensured the perpetuation of DADT with his gambit was, as they say, collateral damage.
The Dream Act, however, should have been defeated, and it should be defeated again. Its most recent Senate version was called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. In the House, it was called the American Dream Act. The versions provided essentially the same path to citizenship for, as the bills euphemistically put it, “certain long-term residents who entered the United States as children.”
To be eligible for consideration, the illegal immigrant must have lived in the United States continually for at least five years and must have entered the country before the age of 16. if they are of good moral character and have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, the applicants would be awarded conditional permanent residency in the U.S. for six years. If, in that time, they graduate from college, have attended at least two years of college or complete at least two years of military service, they will be awarded citizenship. Military members must not be dishonorably discharged, and all applicants must show “good moral character” throughout the process.
What’s wrong with this plan? Simple: it rewards law-breaking illegal immigrants by providing a tangible benefit to their offspring. It also encourages deception by the parents, who benefit by doing everything in their power to keep their children in the country for five years.
Illegal immigrants—and that’s what the children of illegal immigrants are— should not be going to public schools. They should not be going to college. They should not be in the country so as to have an opportunity to join the military.
Quiz: Who is more deserving of the chance to win citizenship by serving in the U.S. military—illegal residents, or citizens of Mexico who have never crossed the border in defiance of U.S. law?
Answer: the Mexicans who are still in Mexico. They haven’t broken our laws, or had their parents break them on their behalf. If Congress wants to establish a program where foreign nationals agree to serve in the U.S. military to earn their citizenship, fine. That’s defensible policy. To make lawbreaking a pre-requisite for the opportunity, however, is perverse.
Mexicans, Asians and South Americans are free to dream about a life in America for themselves and their children, and they have a legal way to pursue that dream. It is called the immigration process. Congress’s Dream Act undermines the law, creates a government sanctioned incentive to defy immigration requirements, and creates a backdoor shortcut to citizenship for individuals who should not be in the United States, and have no justification for requesting, expecting or demanding any benefits at all.
The reflex Democratic argument, intellectually dishonest and shamelessly manipulative, is that to deny the “dream” is to cruelly punish innocent children for their parent’s acts. All children, however, must endure the consequences of their parent’s bad decisions. It is in no way “punishing” children to make them return to the life, country and opportunities they would have experienced if their parents hadn’t chosen to “jump ahead in line” and enter the country illegally.
I fully support immigration reform, including a path for current illegals to legitimize their presence here and stricter measures to keep new illegals out. The Dream Act creates a permanent ongoing endorsement of illegal immigration as parental benefit, and that is intolerable, destructive, and wrong.
To those who get misty-eyed over the Dream Act, I say, “Wake up!” It is an unethical dream.