VDARE.com often makes constructive criticisms of what Editor Peter Brimelow sometimes calls the herbivorous patriotic immigration reform movement inside the Beltway—namely the Center for Immigration Studies, Numbers USA, and Federation for American Immigration Reform. I tend to see each group as doing their own part to move the debate in the right direction.
However, when the DREAM Act was being pushed during the lame duck 2010 Congress, I was concerned that many of our herbivore allies seemed to concede the basic premise that illegal aliens who were brought here at a young age may be acceptable for citizenship.
With Senator Marco Rubio’s much-touted attempt to revive the DREAM Act, my fears have been realized.
The original DREAM Act, as promoted by Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, purported only to help these relatively sympathetic illegals. But it was full of loopholes. Rather than merely applying to “students”, illegals up to age 35 were eligible (and possibly even over 35 given that they were by definition “undocumented” and hence could easily claim to be younger.)
Moreover, because of the chain migration made possible by the so-called family reunification emphasis of current law, the “blameless” illegal alien children would sooner or later be able to sponsor the parents who brought them to the country to begin with. Additionally, illegals with multiple criminal convictions were eligible and there were many opportunities for fraud.
Even if you supported the principle of the DREAM Act, the bill could still be opposed and defeated on the basis of these loopholes. This was a very tempting argument for people who were anxious to appear moderate.
However some supporters of patriotic immigration reform went a step further and said that they actually did support the DREAM Act in principle. For example, Mark Krikorian wrote in National Review that
"A DREAM Act 2.0 that … prosecuted fraud, implemented enforcement, prevented downstream legal immigration, and focused much more narrowly on those who came very young —would possibly be something that even I, were I a congressman, might be able to vote for." [DREAM On, Mark Krikorian, National Review, December 1, 2010]
And shortly after the DREAM Act’s defeat, the Politico reported that CIS’s Steve Camarota suggested that Lamar Smith “might even consider a modified DREAM Act legalizing young immigrants,” though it would have to be coupled with changes to legal immigration and enforcement. [Lamar Smith avoids hard line on immigration, by Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico, December 23, 2010]
I wrote at the time:
Needless to say, it's important to point out that the DREAM Act is rife with potentials for fraud, doesn't just apply to kids etc. But sacrificing the principle that no amnesty is acceptable simply opens the door up to these dressed up versions of the DREAM Act.
Instead, immigration patriots must stay on the offensive. As I said previously, I am truly sympathetic to illegal aliens who were brought here as children and established roots. But, just as with anchor babies (an issue that Krikorian also shies away from), we cannot sacrifice the interests of American citizens just because illegals' parents put them in an unfortunate position.
With this background in mind, here comes Conservative darling Marco Rubio. Just as he endorses Mitt Romney and is being talked up as the Vice Presidential candidate, Rubio is making noises about his version of DREAM Act 2.0.
Rubio has not released the details of this new DREAM Act, and The Hill has speculated that he will not release it until after Romney secures the nomination. (This, very ominously, suggests that Romney may support it.)
However, Rubio has given some details of his principles in a few interviews.
“We have the case of a young girl in South Florida who came to this country when she was 4 years old on her mother’s tourist visa. She’s grown up here her whole life, her mother returned to Colombia for medical care, which means the visa expires and she’s out of status. The problem is this young girl is the valedictorian of her high school, she has a 6.6 GPA and she has Ivy League schools that are encouraging her to come and study. She wants to be a molecular biologist. Our policy can’t be to deport her.”
However, Rubio does not “support the DREAM Act as currently drafted because it allows for chain migration, because it creates a pathway to citizenship that could potentially encourage illegal immigration in the future.”
To solve these problems, Rubio floated the idea of “a visa process that legalizes them and wouldn’t prohibit them in the future from accessing the citizenship process, but it wouldn’t give them a pathway to it specially carved out.” But he noted he is open to other suggestions. [Marco Rubio Discusses the DREAM Act with Juan Williams, Fox News Latino, March 30, 2012]
Of course this does not solve either problem. You cannot “wait in line” when you’re already inside. And it simply means that the parents, who have already managed to live here for years without being deported, will simply have to wait until their children get citizenship before they can be sponsored.
Rubio has also not addressed the greatest inequity among the DREAM Act: it gives preferences to illegal aliens over American citizens from other states. Rubio has just not said whether illegal immigrants who receive his DREAM Act amnesty will get in state tuition and admission preferences, which puts them at an advantage of all out of state US Citizens. Nor has he dealt with the fact that over 85% of illegal immigrants are Non-Asian Minorities and thus eligible for racial preferences in education and hiring ahead of native-born American whites.
Even if Rubio wanted to get rid of these loopholes, it would be impossible unless he required schools to ask on their applications “are you here on a DREAM Act visa?” (And even if the question was asked, I suspect the liberal bureaucrats who run the college admissions process would consider that status favorably.)
The fact is that these loopholes will still exist, and I suspect that Krikorian will still oppose Rubio’s DREAM Act, unless it is coupled with enforcement and reductions in legal immigration. Yet by giving into to the principle that illegals brought here by their parents should be allowed to stay, he opened the door to such maneuvers.
The real reason why we should oppose the DREAM Act is not the loopholes. Rather, with colleges becoming more selective and expensive and the unemployment rate among Americans 18-24 above 16%, why should we allow illegal aliens to compete against young Americans in any circumstance?
"Washington Watcher" [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway