“No fair!” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to add the DREAM Act to a Defense reauthorization bill and bring it to the Senate floor for a vote early next week.
The legislation would give illegal immigrants who were raised and educated in the U.S. a six-year long “path to citizenship” if they complete a college degree or join the military.
It’s a Hail Mary pass to Latino voters whom Democrats desperately need to retain control of Congress. Reid is hoping that sticking DREAM into the Defense bill will make it all but impossible for Senate Republicans to vote against it.
Any doubts that this is the first salvo in a larger push for amnesty were dispelled by Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum and chair of Reform Immigration FOR America, who called DREAM a “stepping stone to comprehensive immigration reform.”
But in Royce’s home state of California, which has the nation’s largest population of illegal immigrants, state colleges and universities are already overcrowded and thousands of students are on wait lists because of a record-long budget delay and previous cuts to higher education. The California State University system is even holding off on registering students for the spring semester until the budget impasse in Sacramento is resolved.
California’s deep financial problems have been exacerbated by the $10.5 billion or so the state spends annually on education, health care and incarceration for its undocumented work force.
By repealing the current ban on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, the DREAM Act would increase the financial burden on California, which “alone houses nearly a quarter (23%) of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants,” according to the Pew Hispanic Center’s most recent report.
“For every illegal immigrant admitted to a university, an American student or legal resident would be turned away at a time when every state university is raising tuition, and many are curtailing enrollment,” Rep. Royce fumed. But Reid and his fellow Democrats don’t care as long as it buys them more votes.