Helen Lovejoy, the do-goody preacher's wife in The Simpsons is best known for her catchphrase "Won't somebody please think of the children?"—which she yells at every single problem, large or small.
Attacking someone as anti-child is an easy political tactic. "Do it for the children" has become a political cliché. This is why the Open Borders Lobby pushes for the DREAM Act whenever it concludes that "comprehensive immigration reform" a.k.a. amnesty has become politically infeasible.
Thus Senator Harry Reid, (D-NV), has just used his power as Majority Leader to announce he will attach the DREAM Act to the defense appropriations bill, which is scheduled for a vote next week. This is exactly the same thuggish tactic the Democrats used to muscle through their "Hate Crimes" Bill last year. But it could well backfire—and cost Reid re-election.
The DREAM Act is an amnesty ostensibly just "for the children". The idea is that if an illegal alien who came here five years ago, before age 16, graduates high school or the equivalent and says he wants to go to college or join the military, he gets amnesty.
Secondarily, he gets in-state tuition—that is, he gets to pay less than Americans from other states.
That's bad enough. But the devil is in the details. And there are a few million of those details.
Dick Lugar (R [!!!!]-IN), the bill's sponsor has said that 50,000-70,000 illegal aliens graduate from high school each year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a grand total of 70% of high school graduates go on to attend college. Assuming that illegal aliens attend college at the same rate (admittedly doubtful) that brings us to 35,000-50, 0000 illegal aliens entering college each year. A generous estimate would say 80% of these illegal aliens have been in the country for over five years, which puts us at 28,000-40,000 illegal aliens who graduate from high school each year and would go to college if they could.
But while advocates of the DREAM Act used to deny it, they now admit that under its age and entry terms (and not allowing for fraud) up to 2.1 million illegal aliens could qualify for amnesty. So my incredibly generous estimates of college-bound aliens amount to less than 2% of the illegal aliens who are eligible for what must be called the "DREAMnesty".
Our more PC friends inside the Beltway have done a good job of explaining how easy DREAM would make it easy for any illegal alien under age 35 to get amnesty.
The Center for Immigration Studies' John Feere writes:
"[U]nder the DREAM Act an illegal alien simply must claim that he or she entered the United States sometime before reaching the age of 16; the standard of proof required by the government is unclear and it should raise concerns of fraud as most illegal aliens enter clandestinely and off the record.
"The only other age requirement is that an applicant must not have reached the age of 35 at the time of the bill's enactment. It is also unclear how the government will deal with fraud regarding this age requirement. Illegal aliens do not have U.S. birth certificates. Will DHS, the agency tasked with coming up with the regulations, require faxed copies of foreign birth certificates as evidence of age? If so, does this mean that the administrative accuracy of the DREAM Act will be dependent on the accuracy of bookkeeping in foreign nations (many of which have a vested interest in keeping their citizens permanently in the United States)?
[Debunking Media Mythmaking, the DREAM Act is for Adults, Jon Feere, Center for Immigration Studies, September 15, 2010]
NumbersUSA's Roy Beck adds:
"DREAM does nothing to stop the behavior that put teenagers into their situation. It leaves the jobs magnet in place."
Beck also points out:
"This amnesty has no enforcement measures at all. It allows employers to continue to hire illegal aliens, enticing millions more parents to bring their children here illegally and stay long enough for them to become high school students and demand another amnesty in a few years.
"DREAM leaves intact the chain migration system that will allow these 2.1 million illegal aliens to eventually send for millions more relatives.
"Rather quickly, the amnestied illegal aliens would be able to get green cards for their parents. And millions of additional relatives would be able to start planning their applications and getting in line. This starts with adult siblings and moves on to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc."
[Even if you favor amnesty for some illegal teens, this DREAM Act must be stopped, Roy Beck, Numbers USA, September 15, 2010]
Feere and Beck are both correct. Immigration patriots should publicize the fact that the DREAM Act rewards more illegals than its proponents imply. However, we should not give up the principle that children brought here by their parents need to go back to their country of origin anyway.
There are two simple facts about immigration policy that even many opponents of illegal immigration do not understand.
Immigration policy needs to be rooted in the interests of American citizens—not aliens.
There are millions upon millions more aliens who want to immigrate to this country than is in America's national interest.
These principles apply to setting legal immigration quotas, Birthright Citizenship, and to "blameless" illegal aliens such as the well-publicized beneficiaries of the DREAM Act. Because the number of people who want to come to this country is greater than the number we let in, our job is choose who to let in, and who not to let in. Even if an illegal alien came here a child, they should not be given priority over those who are waiting to get here legally.
These children are in an unfortunate position. I truly sympathize with them. But the blame lies squarely on their parents for breaking the law—not on Americans for having the law.
Will the DREAM Act pass next week? I have heard mixed reports about whether it will get through the Senate. Richard Lugar is the only Republican co-sponsor. Many Republicans who previously supported the SAVE Act such as Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain, have all indicated they will not support it this time. A total of 40 Democrats are already attached to the bill, but some—especially those in tough elections such as Michael Bennett (CO), Patty Murray (WA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)—could vote against it using the principled excuse that it should not be attached to a defense bill.
And with Democrats in conservative districts fighting for their lives, the House is unlikely to vote for any amnesty less than two months before the election.
So why is Reid jeopardizing these Democrats by forcing a vote on the DREAM Act? The conventional wisdom is that he feels the need to energize Hispanic voters in Nevada against Sharon Angle:
"With polls showing Reid running neck-and-neck with Angle, the Hispanic vote could be critical for him. Earlier this year, Reid told Hispanic activists that there would be 'no excuses' if he failed to deliver comprehensive immigration reform this year. With no hope left for comprehensive reform this year, the DREAM Act could be Reid's best opportunity to deliver for Hispanic activists."
[Immigration Measure May Get Senate Vote, Stephanie Condon, CBS News, September 14, 2010]
Unfortunately, Sharron Angle seems to buy this same baloney. The Associated Press reported last week:
"Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle's conservative views on illegal immigration and her limited outreach to Hispanics have done little to endear her to Nevada's largest minority group…
"Angle's campaign, however, said it is not conceding the Hispanic vote. She is courting endorsements from Hispanic leaders and has plans to air Spanish-language ads.
"'Her feeling is she needs to bring together all groups,' campaign spokesman Jarrod Agen said."
[Angle courts wary Hispanics in Nevada Senate race, By Cristina Silva, Associated Press, September 9, 2010]
Both Angle and Reid are wrong to pin their hopes on pandering to Hispanics. On Tuesday Rasmussen released poll results on Nevada voters that included questions about the Senate Race and whether Nevadans supported enacting an Arizona SB 1070-style law in their state. [Election 2010: Nevada Senate, Rasmussen Reports, September 14, 2010. (Crosstabs only available to subscribers)]
Angle and Reid were deadlocked at 48%. But voters supported SB 1070 by a 2 to 1 margin of 62-31%.
Arizona Hispanics did oppose SB 1070 68-21. But that's still less than their opposition to Angle (14%-75%).
(Rasmussen does not list Hispanics as a group—just white, black, other. I am counting the "other" as Hispanics, though this number includes a small number of Asians. Unfortunately, Asian voters views on politics and immigration have tended to mirror Hispanics over the last decade, so it's a safe bet that they will have a marginal effect).
Some 74% of whites supported SB 1070—but only 56% supported Angle. And that phenomenon of greater support for SB 1070 than Angle stays constant for every single demographic group—especially those who might vote Democrat (32%-12%); Independents (64%-46%); Blacks (31%-6%); Moderates (56%-29%); Liberals (25%-10%); and Women (55%-37%). In 2008, Hispanics made up 15% of Nevada voters. But in 2010, with expected increases in white turnout, the Hispanic share will likely be lower.
Rasmussen's figures show only 2/3 of Hispanics oppose SB 1070. So the pro-amnesty Hispanic vote is only 10% (2/3 of 15%) of the electorate.
As Hispanics are already more likely to support Reid than to oppose immigration enforcement, the only possible gain to Reid from all this pandering is to increase Hispanic turnout. But whatever marginal gains this will give Reid will be offset, many times over, by alienating the mass of anti-amnesty White Democrats and Independents who will vote for Angle.
The only possible conclusion: the Democrats believe their own propaganda.
Republicans will never win the Hispanic vote. But, as the relatively stronger support for SB 1070 shows, that's not because they are too tough on illegal immigration. Rather, Hispanics simply (and rationally) support redistributionist big government and the racial set-asides offered by the Democrats.
By forcing the vote on DREAMnesty, Reid may very well have provided Angle with a nail for his political coffin.
But is she willing to pound it in?
"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.