Fresh of a victory against Sharron Angle, Harry Reid, bought and paid for by the labor unions and the Latinos, plans to have a vote on the DREAM Act in the lame duck congress. He's hoping to do this before the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives in January.
Now I happen to think that the passage of this piece of legislation will harm the country and erode whatever notions of citizenry we still have, but please allow me to rebut an argument advanced by a writer at The Forum who rather easily parrots the arguments of the open borders enthusiasts. Someone in the comment section asks for an argument against the DREAM Act and bored and procrastinating the papers I have due tomorrow and the next day, I'm happy to oblige.
Rather than descend into the back-and-forth of the comment section where I will almost assuredly be told I sh-t on the floor, am a homosexual, etc., etc., let's turn to the text of the DREAM Act. When we do, we see that the DREAM Act will allow those illegals "who entered the U.S. before age 16 and who have lived here illegally for five consecutive years" to become U.S. citizens. There are, I believe, broad philosophical reasons to be opposed right away: why does someone's geographic location or even participation in public services entitle them to claim citizenship? Might they just be pleased that we, a rather kind country, are so giving of ourselves that we tolerate them? Why must we make citizens of illegals? And if we decide we must, why must they go to college as the DREAM Act seems to support? College, we know, isn't for everyone, nor is it always and everywhere a good investment.
Let's put those issues aside, though, and ask ourselves a very simple question: Okay, how's that going to work in practice?
By definition, illegal immigrants exist in the shadows and unless they have a birth certificate (a luxury that doesn't really exist in much of the third world), we will have no way of authenticating their age, let alone how long they have lived here. More likely, we will just take their word for it. It will also serve as an inducement to parents of children to come to America and dare the already compliant federal government to prove they weren't here already.
On top of that, it will repeal a 1996 federal law that prohibits any state from offering in-state tuition to illegal immigrants unless the state also offers in-state tuition rates to all American citizens. A lawsuit filed in California on this point revealed that the state already pays more than $100 million annually to subsidize college education for thousands of illegal immigrants -- and California is only one of ten states that are violating the 1996 federal law. (I've always wondered why Californians, who suffer something like 30% tuition hikes this year, haven't made more hay about this issue, but I guess I've got a lot to learn in this state.)
Of this bill is rather sweeping.
- There is no cut off date. A 45 year old man can walk into any immigration office and declare eligibility. He need only according to Section 4(a) "demonstrate" that he is eligible. That would most likely just mean a sworn statement. The immigration office, already understaffed, will most likely just grant his application. After all, why go through the pesky process of seeing if he did actually enter the country before the age of 15 more than 30 years ago?
- After receiving the grant application, he has six years to change his status from green card holder to non-conditional. To do that, he has to complete two years of study at any institution of higher education. (And you can read that as broadly as I'm sure they will... Why not online education? Why not community colleges? Why not degree mills?) Once those two years of "study" are completed, he can then bring in family members. Alternatively, he can join the armed forces for two years... because you know it's a good idea to have people who don't know this country serve in its armed forces. Turned out well for Rome, right?
- But hey, even if said illegal immigrant files an application -- any application -- the Feds are prohibited from deporting him. In fact, so long as he files an application, no matter how fraudulent or silly, he can't be deported. With few exceptions, the feds can't use any of the information from that application to deport him, lest they pay a $10,000 fine!
- Meanwhile, those poor bastards who try to go through the process legally find that their path to citizenship is a bit slower than those who broke the law to get here. An illegal can claim "retroactive benefits" which start the clock running the day the DREAM act is passed, meaning the illegal has jumped to the front of the line, and moving from illegal immigrant to U.S. national in as little as five years. (See Section 5(e) and Section 6 on these points.)