DREAM Act a Nightmare for America

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) announced last week he would tack on the DREAM Act on to a defense appropriations bill. A cloture vote on the act is expected this afternoon.  

The DREAM Act grants amnesty to illegal aliens who claim they came to this country before the age of 16 and also claim they will join the military or enroll in college.

Even to the vast majority of Americans who oppose a blanket amnesty, the DREAM Act might appear reasonable at first glance. It is hard to blame illegal aliens who were brought to this country as children for their current status. With additional requirements such as higher education, it seemingly only applies to a few of the best and brightest. 

However, the DREAM Act is much more expansive than its supporters make it out to be, is filled with loopholes, and has a directly negative effect on young American citizens.

Harry Reid said that the DREAM Act will “ensure that millions of children who grow up as Americans will be able to get the education they need to contribute to our economy.” DREAM Act advocates often claim the number of eligible illegal aliens would be a small fraction of this. Sen. Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.) claimed that only 38% of those eligible would get amnesty.

In July, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa) discovered a memo from Denise Vanison, Obama’s chief of policy and strategy for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, entitled “Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” 

The memo discussed various ways the White House could enact an amnesty by Executive Order through “deferred action.” Vanison writes, “Rather than making deferred action widely available to hundreds of thousands and as a non-legislative version of ‘amnesty,’ USCIS could tailor the use of this discretionary option for particular groups such as individuals who would be eligible for relief under the DREAM Act (an estimated 50,000).”

So how many people will get the DREAM Act? 50,000 children? Millions of children? Actually, it will be available to millions of adults.

Approximately 50,000 to 70,000 illegal immigrants graduate from high school each year, and not all of them have been here for five years or would attend college. If the DREAM Act were limited to its supposed intended purpose, at most a few hundred thousand illegal aliens would be eligible.

However, the DREAM Act is much more expansive than it appears. Anyone up to the age of 35 who claims they came here before age 16 can apply for amnesty. Because illegal aliens are, as the media likes to call them, “undocumented,” anyone can claim to have come here before they were 16 and we have no way to make sure they are telling the truth.

In fact, illegal aliens do not need to attend college or join the military to receive legal status, they simply need to affirm that they intend to do so during the next six years. In order to receive legal status, they do not need to show they are of “good moral character” and can be convicted criminals. 

There are many other loopholes, invitations to fraud, and troublesome provisions hidden into the DREAM Act such as repealing the ban on in-state tuition for illegal aliens. Those who receive amnesty can sponsor their family members who brought them to this country illegally.

Even if the DREAM Act were only applicable to truly college-bound illegal aliens, there are still many reasons to oppose it. The recession hit young Americans especially hard. Seventy percent of high school graduates from 2009 are currently enrolled in college, the highest level in history. With admissions becoming more competitive and tuition skyrocketing, the last thing we need is tens of thousands of illegal aliens applying for college—many of whom will be eligible for both affirmative action and in-state tuition. 

The high college enrollment rate is not necessarily cause for celebration because it is caused in part by the lack of jobs for high school graduates. Thirty percent of high school graduates not enrolled in college are out of the workforce. Illegal aliens amnestied under the DREAM Act will get work visas, not just education visas, so they will be competing directly against these Americans for the few jobs available to them.

No one wants to punish children because their parents brought them to this country illegally. But this consideration does not give them a right to live in this country, compete with Americans for our limited jobs, and attend public colleges with in-state tuition.