Exactly whose fault is it that the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) has failed to pass Congress? Perhaps Congress will have to pass it to learn what’s in it, as they did with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010.
Then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi famously observed that members of Congress would have to pass Obamacare to learn what was in it — and they did. Obamacare was drafted and passed by the then-Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and Democrat-controlled Senate.
In the 2010 election, voters showed buyers’ remorse and elected a Republican majority in the U.S. House, while Democrats managed to hold on to their Senate majority.
Listening today to President Barack Obama and the Democrats, one might conclude that the Senate no longer has legislative responsibility and that only House Republicans can be blamed for the failure of Congress to act on bills such as the DREAM Act.
A legislative project since 2001, the DREAM Act had bipartisan support in the early years but failed to pass. In 2009, while Democrats held the Presidency and super majorities in both the Senate and the House, an updated DREAM Act failed again, even though it was a major issue for the Hispanic immigrant community.
At the time, Hispanics excused the Democrat president and Congress, but recently Obama administration slights have softened Hispanic support.
On May 11, 2011, the Democrats in the Senate and House submitted bills (S 952 and HR 1842) for the latest version of the DREAM Act. These would cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion annually for the 2 million Hispanic students who would qualify for “development, relief, and education” benefits.
The bill would permit persons up to 35 years of age to apply, if they met criteria that include the following:
- Graduating from a U.S. high school or receipt of a General Educational Development (GED) diploma
- Passing a background check with no felony convictions
- No appearance of being a public charge
- Registering with the Selective Service (the currently non-existent draft)
- Passing a medical examination
Apparently requirements would be subjectively reviewed, thus meaning that there would be no restrictions, save conviction of murder or treason.
Arguments against enacting the DREAM Act include concern for national security, as a rising number of domestic lone-wolf terrorists were radicalized in their teens and 20s. Among those immigrants who have become U.S. citizens, some admit they lied when they swore allegiance to the United States.
In 2012, Congressman David Rivera, R-Fla., introduced the Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act that would grant citizenship to illegal aliens who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The liberal establishment was quick to attack the bill.
A February 2012 article by Esther Cepeda of The Washington Post Writers Group stated that “Immigrant advocates across the country have rejected as unfair the premise that illegal immigrant youth should have no alternative other than to put their life on the line in order to gain citizenship.”
Cepeda quoted an immigration lawyer who complained that the current military drawdown meant fewer military slots available, and thus Rivera’s bill was a cruel joke.
Cepeda noted, “Then there are the physical and cultural aspects to joining the military.” She questioned whether Latino children would be physically and mentally fit to serve because of family poverty. She wrote that “…if they are Latino, [they] are likelier than others to be overweight or obese and have respiratory medical conditions or emotional issues due to the stress of living illegally during the time of high deportations.”
Her conclusion is that children in the U.S. illegally cannot or should not serve in the Armed Forces, that these children are necessarily wards of the state for medical and emotional needs, with citizen taxpayers responsible for such care. She concluded that the Obama deportation policy is causing stress among illegal alien children. That policy recently was rescinded in time for the coming election.
If Cepeda is correct, DREAM Act requirements for illegal alien children could be excused on cultural, physical, mental, or religious grounds. In effect, the DREAM Act would end up providing amnesty for illegal alien children.
Unmentioned by advocates of the bill is the reality that once DREAM Act children (up to age 35) gained legal status, they could sponsor older relatives under existing family reunification provisions to enter the nation and receive social and welfare benefits.
Thus the DREAM Act is little more than an end-run scam to provide all-out amnesty at taxpayer expense.
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
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