Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dream Act--Amnesty By Another Name

The Washington Post writes today about The DREAM Act, the provisions of which
would apply only to those who entered the country at age 15 or younger, have lived here for at least five years and have unblemished records. Upon graduating from high school, they would be granted conditional legal status for six years, a grace period in which they would have to spend at least two years enrolled in a four-year or community college or serving in a branch of the U.S. military. If they satisfied all those conditions while staying out of trouble, they would qualify to become legal permanent residents.
I have absolutely no problem with this part of the bill. To a certain extent, these children have been forced into illegal status by the illegal acts of their families and it is patently unfair to hold them accountable for the actions of others.

However, there is one great big, huge, honking loophole that must be closed--sponsorship.

Under current immigration laws, a legal permanent resident may sponsor a very large family to be in the United States. While the provision has some humanitarian concerns which are noble, I fear the exploitation of sponsorship by Dream Act admittees.

Imagine, an extended family of 20 illegal immigrants has illegally entered the United Staes, including a five children, say between the ages of 3 and 14. Under the provisions of the Dream Act, if but one of these children keeps a clean police record, graduates from high school, enrolls for two years in a community college or four year university (not graduate mind you, just enroll) they could become a permanent legal resident and then under other provisions of the immigration laws, be permitted to sponsor the entire extended family of 20 into permanent legal status. With five kids under the age of 15 when they entered, this family would have five attempts to become legal on the backs of the Dream Act admittees.

The Post admonishes us to be "big" or else these kids will be doomed to a life on the margins of society. I am not looking to marginalize any kid who works hard to succeed, I am looking to eliminate loopholes.

In order to eliminate loopholes, any person admitted to permanent legal residence under the Dream Act would have to wait until either 1). U.S. Citizenship is attained or 2). 15 years has passed as a permanent legal resident, with a clean record, by which time most of these Dream Act admittees will be in their late 30's to early 40's. Only then will Dream Act admittees be permitted to sponsor family members into legal residency. The now adult child will be accorded legal status as a reward for his or her efforts at assimilation, but the family cannot be similarly rewarded without further proof of assimilation-either citizenship or a lengthy stay in the United States.

If the Dream Act is a path to citizenship or assimilation, lets make sure one of those happens.

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