Mickey Kaus, earlier this week:
The so-called DREAM ActÂ partial immigration amnesty–one of the Democratic priorities being pushed in the current lame-duck Congress–Â isn't dead yet. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's game plan for passing it seems clear: Wait until the big tax bill passes and Republican senators are released from their "no cloture" pledge. Then try to break out enough "yes" votes to get to 60 at the buzzer, right before Congress adjourns.
Majority pundit sentiment says Reid won't be able to do this. But a week is a long time to expect squishy GOP senators to hold out against a waveÂ of criticism from respectable kibbitzers andÂ ethnic-identityÂ politicians (e.g., "If Senate Republicans kill the DREAM Act ... many millions ofÂ Hispanics will take it as a slap in the face").Â In particular, I'm worried some anti-amnesty Republicans might be tempted by the argument that passing DREAM–which in theory applies onlyÂ to illegals brought to this country when they were under age 16 who graduate from high school–will make it harder to pass a larger "comprehensive"Â amnesty in the future.
I used to think that, until I thought about it.Â After thinking, I suspect President Obama is closer to the truth whenÂ he argues that DREAM is in fact a "down payment" on "comprehensive" legalization."
His point it that once you legalize this particular category of illegal, it's going to be harder Congress to hold the line on legalizing any other category of illegal. See this diagram from Eugene Volokh's Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope:
Camel (A) sticks his nose under the tent (B), which collapses, driving the thin end of the wedge (C) to cause monkey to open floodgates (D), letting water flow down the slippery slope (E) to irrigate acorn (F) which grows into oak (G). The argument is irrefutable.