The Unethical “Dream Act”

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.

10 thoughts on “The Unethical “Dream Act”

  1. I’m sure this isn’t much of a problem now, but under Clinton, the strength of military was greatly reduced and what I call “professional soldiers” suddenly found themselves out of work. Are we really going to “hire” illegal immigrants to be government workers (as soldiers) and take more job opportunities away from the legal residents of this country?

    What a great plan Mr. Reid. Give more government jobs to illegals and complain that you don’t understand why legal resident unemployment finally hits 12%.

    • When I first heard about the Dream Act, I really thought it had been garbled, somehow. Today I heard a Democratic operative say the “of course” it was the right thing to do. Our very definition of “right” is becoming unrecognizable.

  2. My heart tells me no, and I think my mind does, too. I don’t see how you can argue that it’s not punishing, say, a 16-yr old whose parents brought him to the US illegally when he was–3? to deport him to a place he’s never known.

    The sins of the parents shouldn’t be visited on the innocent children. Didn’t somebody worthy say that?

    • My mind and heart, if given a choice between no consequence to the child and a penalty, would choose the former. Ir would choose no consequence to the child over a benefit, too. But there isn’t a neutral choice. A society that endorses a familial benefit to lawbreaking is cutting its own throat. Between the two available options, the only fair and rational choice is to refuse the benefit, which means a default penalty.

    • In fact—maybe you can do what no one else has been able to do: explain how providing an incentive for law-breaking can ever be defended or justified unless one just wants to eliminate the law. When welfare reform was proposed because welfare was an incentive not to work, the same “sins of the parents” argument was used. But Welfare did encourage joblessness. Now we want to encourage, not only illegal immigration, but long term hiding of illegal status. Explain to me how that makes legal or ethical sense.


  3. The “incentive” for law breaking is America. Nothing we’d want to do to change that. We ought to not reward people who break the law. But their many of the children are innocent, and it would be wrong to punish them.

    I was (still am) for welfare reform. The “sins of the parents” argument wasn’t persuasive there, because the new law provided incentives for the parents to take action. It is here.

  4. Okay, let’s deal with a little reality here.

    “The sins of the parents should not be visited on the children” Nonsense.

    Anyone have any idea how many children are removed from their felon/drug user/drug dealer/thieving parents each year and placed in foster care by state social service systems? We do this ostensibly to protect the children, but mostly because their parents are FELONS. What special things do we do for these kids except bounce them around from foster home to foster home and then when they “age out” of the system give them a few hundred bucks and send them on their way? No college fund, no special treatment if they join the military. Nothing. And these are natural born citizens of the United States. They number in the hundreds of thousands across the country every year.

    Now we want to have special “dreams” for the children of illegal immigrants? What makes them more special than the poor kids — natural American citizens all — taken from their felon parents? (Get the stats on felon illegal immigrants and the number of their children who are sent packing.)

    It is absolutely astonishing to me that we haven’t found a way to take care of our own citizen children yet we are “dreaming” about the future of illegal immigrants. Misguided liberalism. And much much worse.

  5. The main area of disagreement here seems to be that of “punishing” the children of illegal immigrants. If we’re united on the fact that establishing false residency in this country is wrong (as it is) and that such persons should be deported, then what is the greater burden for the children? To be kept in a foreign land to be raised by strangers… or to accompany their parents back to their legal native land? I’d choose the latter. Illegals must be deported for reasons of law but, for the most part, their crimes to not extend far beyond that point. Those families should be kept together. Nor is it justifiably the responsibility of the American taxpayer to provide upkeep for these children, anymore than it is to school them or provide them with free healthcare. Those burdens devolve upon the nation of which they are citizens. And America isn’t it.

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