Saturday, July 17, 2010

Should Congress Pass on the DREAM Act? (The Hill)
Trail of Dreams

Posted on July 9, 2010 by felipe

The Big Question: Should Congress vote for the DREAM Act?
By Sydelle Moore - 07/09/10 01:15 PM ET

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

Should Congress pass the DREAM Act allowing undocumented young people to earn citizenship if they meet certain educational or military service stipulations?

Adey Fisseha, Policy Attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, said:
Absolutely! Enacting the DREAM Act means that we will be in a better position to meet the challenges of a global economy with a better educated, multilingual, multicultural workforce. It also means more money to the federal, state and local governments in the form of social security, payroll and sales taxes to help close current budget shortfalls. Our current immigration system has no path for these US-raised, US-educated students to fully engaging in our economy. Deporting these students or allowing talented college-bound youth to stagnate in low-wage, dead end jobs is a waste of human capital, a squandering of our investment in these kids to date, and betrayal of our long history as a nation of immigrants.

Justin Raimondo, editorial director of, said:
It's not surprising that, like ancient Rome, we are bribing foreign nationals to join our military on the far frontiers of empire. Another sign of decadence, and the transition from republic to imperium. It makes perfect sense: if we're going to embark on wars of conquest aimed at mostly what we used to call the "Third World," then our military has to look like our subject peoples.

That said, I'm against it.

Peter Navarro, professor of economics and public policy at U.C. Irvine, said:
If you reject an “open border” policy, the next question is, 'What criteria should you use to choose your legal entrants?' With an aging population, the best economic strategy is to attract young, well-educated and preferably affluent immigrants to boost the tax base. The DREAM Act is loosely consistent with this strategy because it makes education a defining variable but the military service component works in the opposite direction as it is likely to simply work as recruiting less educated “cannon fodder.” Ultimately, it would be far preferable to pass a unified immigration law that clearly defines our strategy and implements it accordingly. DREAM is piecemeal and flawed.

Hal Lewis, professor of Physics at U.C. Santa Barbara, said:
We have a history of offering citizenship to non-citizens who have served in the armed services in wartime (I have had distant relatives who got their citizenship that way after World War I), but I know of no history of offering it otherwise. Military service is a gift to the country, and it is not unreasonable to reward it with citizenship. Getting an education is not a gift to the country, and desirable as it might be, earns no such reward. I am also offended by the use of the benign term "undocumented" to describe illegals. It is like calling a bank robber undocumented because he took the money without having an account at the bank. It deliberately misses the point.

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign, said:

Should Congress pass the DREAM Act allowing undocumented young people to earn citizenship if they meet certain educational or military service stipulations?

Yes. The DREAM Act is an important component in the fight to reform our immigration system and would strengthen our economic competitiveness. The DREAM Act is bipartisan legislation that would adjust the legal status of young immigrant students who have lived in the US for at least 5 years, earn a high school diploma, show good moral character, and are committed to go to college or enter military service.

Young immigrant students are the overlooked casualties of the immigration debate’s overheated rhetoric. They were brought to the U.S. as children through no fault of their own, were raised in America, educated in America and think of themselves as Americans. Many long to earn a college degree or serve the country in uniform but they face a dim future of dead-end jobs because they are stuck in a paperwork trap.

The DREAM Act addresses the purgatory-like status of these young immigrant students who are ready to give back to America – their home – through hard work and service. This bipartisan bill offers a practical solution. It defies common sense to put higher education out of reach for hard working immigrant students. Doing so won’t force them to leave our country—the only country they call home, It would, however force them to remain in the underground workforce while America is deprived of the increased economic productivity and tax revenues provided by a better-educated workforce.

Young men and women who are willing to fight and die for this country or who are ready to contribute with their hard work should be able to participate in the great opportunity that is America. The Dream Act rejects the unacceptable waste of young talent and puts America in the position to benefit from the talents, service, and contributions of a new generation of hard working young immigrants.

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