DREAM Act for illegal immigrants? Dream on

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has obstinately defied the wishes of the American people by scheduling a vote on a controversial immigration bill during Congress’ upcoming lame-duck session. It takes hubris to try to impose such an unwinnable debate over amnesty for illegal immigrants in the same Congress that rejected it just two months ago.

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would grant legal residency status to any illegal immigrants under 35 who was brought to the U.S. as a child if they enroll in college or join the military. On the surface, this may appear to be a compassionate way to deal with youngsters whose parents broke the law, but Frumforum.com said the bill’s provisions are fraught with peril to our national security.

Since the Department of Homeland Security would be forbidden from using any information in a DREAM Act application during deportation proceedings, the bill provides what Frumforum calls a “no-risk option” to halt any present removal attempts and taint all future efforts. Also, it is an insult to the intelligence of voters that a bill officially directed at minors provides retroactive benefits to illegal immigrants of any age who have merely completed some military service or taken prior college classes.

In return for legal residency and an estimated $44 billion in taxpayer-supported in-state tuition and federal student aid, DREAM applicants do not even have to earn a college degree or be honorably discharged from the military. Even before the bill’s two-year requirement is up, all they have to do is claim “significant hardship” to quit college or leave the service, and then use their newfound status to sponsor members of their extended family — ahead of foreigners waiting patiently for legal permission to enter the U.S.

A Gallup poll released before Thanksgiving found that the top lame-duck priority of 50 percent of Americans is the extension of the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts, compared to just 31 percent who want Congress to take up DREAM legislation. But Reid has only scheduled a vote on DREAM even though Americans have repeatedly told Congress to seal the borders first and not reward illegal immigrants for breaking the law. The DREAM Act fails on both counts, and any member of Congress who votes for it will receive an “F” for failing the voters’ trust.

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