Diary

Will the DREAM Act produce an American nightmare?

Advocacy groups are pushing for passage of the DREAM Act in the Lame Duck session of Congress, and Republicans I view as left of center are part of that effort. Some Republicans appear to believe that GOP support will make the population painted broadly as “Hispanic” run to the precincts in 2012 and pull a lever for whoever opposes President Barack Obama.

On Facebook more than 54,000 people belong to the DREAM Act 2010 group. At the top of the page, a message seeks to assure, “The DREAM Act is NOT Amnesty.”

Advocates rightly point out the plight of children brought to the U.S. by parents who found it too bothersome to complete the paperwork that every country around the globe expects legal immigrants to complete.

Advocates claim the bill will  result in a net gain for the U.S. economically, although at least one version (S 729) promised DREAM Act students they could obtain student loans, work study positions and “Services under such title IV (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.” That last may be deliberately obscure because it actually opened the door to Pell grants and other federal assistance.

On Nov. 18, one of the newer DREAM versions S 3963 was placed on the Senate calendar.  Although proponents claim there are rigorous standards, a cursory read of the bill reflects an exception for almost every standard set.

One provision in S 3963 is a requirement that the applicant be “of good moral character.” How exactly is that determined and conclusively validated?

Another provision addresses breaks in the applicant’s presence. The bill states, “An alien shall be considered to have failed to maintain continuous physical presence in the United States under subsection (a) if the alien has departed from the United States for any period in excess of 90 days or for any periods in the aggregate exceeding 180 days.” Predictably, the very next provision permits exceptions for that requirement if there are “exceptional circumstances.”

Although the states will certainly shoulder the economic burden of a number of unintended consequences of this bill, the secretary of Homeland Security has “exclusive jurisdiction to determine eligibility for relief under this Act.”

Meanwhile there is no stable infrastructure to support the implementation of this bill. If there was, our president and various congressmen would not describe immigration as a “broken system.”

Besides all that, there is a worrisome development that escaped Congress and perhaps President Barack Obama.

When the U.S. filed a Human Rights Report with the United Nations, Obama pledged compliance with the Avena decision. That decision was relevant to the case of Medillin vs. Texas in 2008. Jose Ernesto Medillin belonged to a gang that brutally raped, sodomized and murdered two teen girls as they hurried home to beat their curfew in Houston. The crime was so brutal I can’t bring myself to describe it in detail.

Medillin was sentenced to death. Mexico sued the U.S. on behalf of Medillin and 50 other death row inmates in an attempt to have their cases reopened. Medillin was technically a Mexican citizen even though he had lived in the U.S. and received a free education here. Incidentally, he wrote a handwritten confession.

Mexico took the position Medillin was deprived of his rights because he wasn’t informed of his right to speak with Mexican consular officials.  Even the Republican administration attempted to yield to Mexico on this point.

Texas governor Rick Perry executed Medillin anyway—a small victory for the families of the girls who had waited for years to see justice delivered.

Will Avena impact the DREAM Act during the wait period for students who apply? No version of the DREAM Act addresses this issue wherein our president yielded American sovereignty to international court jurisdiction. It appears the idea escaped Congress.

The DREAM Act specifies a period of 7 years for the General Accounting Office to come up with statistics on the impact.

It is impossible for anyone to accurately gauge the cost of this act simply because the population is so undefined. Most proponents see it as a pathway for Hispanics because of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) political debt. In fact, the DREAM Act will apply to students of any nationality. All the versions of the Act are listed at Thomas.gov—you can follow links from the pages for S 3963.

A reader, in response to a column I wrote recently, sent me an email message. That reader, an individual with experience within an immigration agency, wrote, “Tens of thousands already come in, invited to do so, through processes of 1)diversity visas (50 thousand every year); I-130 petitions of alien relatives (to include fiancee visas); I-140 petitions for residence based on work and the perverted political asylum process. ..There are more than 900 immigration laws in the United States.” This individual has asked me to source this and other information to ‘anonymous.’

Regardless of the version you decide to review, the DREAM Act is in fact amnesty. Many of us are old enough to remember the Amnesty of 1986 when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), then congressman Leon Panetta (D-Calif.) and Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming) led Americans to believe the border would be secured and we would never face immigration chaos again.

They lied and just as troubling, they failed. An excellent backgrounder on the 1986 Amnesty is provided at the Center for Immigration Studies.

The GAO has 7 years to determine whether the Act was a good idea or a nightmare.

I believe, based on hundreds of hours of research on our immigration system and policy, it will likely be a fiscal nightmare.

Until the federal infrastructure is reformed, it is not in the best interest of the country to pass an entitlement act or to enable amnesty through a side door.