There was a Cold War joke about the Soviet press reporting the outcome of a two-man foot-race between a Soviet citizen and an American: "The Soviet runner finished right behind the winner, while the American finished next-to-last."
That old chuckle popped into my mind upon reading Dispelling DREAM Act Myths, issued on November 23, 2010 by the Immigration Policy Center, which is the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council [AIC].
(The AIC, in turn, seems to have an unspoken, but organic, relationship to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, since the two organizations occupy suites 200 and 300, respectively, at a common address in Washington, DC. Their phone numbers also differ by 100, so to speak. The AIC's mission statement includes this: "The American Immigration Council believes that the dignity of the individual knows no boundary." Whatever that means.)
According to all predictions, starting Monday, November 29 immigration-sanity patriots will once again have to man the anti-mass-amnesty barricades against the DREAM Act, the most dangerous immigration-related legislative threat to the American future since the several mass-amnesty attempts of 2006-7. So it's vital to know what the forces of national dissolution like the AIC are serving up as talking points about DREAM for their allies.
The AIC's November 23rd "dispelling myths" paper deals with nine "myths." Here's an example:
"Myth: The DREAM Act allows undocumented students to pay cheaper tuition than citizens.
Fact: The DREAM Act gives states the option to offer in-state tuition to students registered under DREAM, but it does NOT guarantee cheaper tuition. At most, the DREAM Act allows undocumented students to access the same benefits as their peers. The DREAM Act allows undocumented students to access in-state tuition, but only if they would otherwise qualify for such tuition, and if state law permits undocumented students to receive in-state tuition."
(Italics in original)
So the AIC's rebuttal to this "myth," while literally correct, evades the larger point: illegal-alien students will be paying college tuition at in-state rates, while their American-citizen "peers" will have to pay full freight if they hail from a different state.
"Myth: The DREAM Act will spur more illegal immigration because it rewards undocumented youth.
Fact: Programs like the DREAM Act, which have clear cut-off dates, offer no incentives for more illegal immigration. In order to qualify for the DREAM Act, a student must have entered the United States before the age of 16 and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years before the date of enactment. Economic conditions have far more impact on illegal immigration than specific pieces of legislation."
Well, yes, for eligibility, DREAM's applicants must have been continuously present in the U.S. for at least five years immediately preceding the date of DREAM's enactment, and such aliens must have been no older than 16 when they entered the U.S.. That would be a "cut-off date", alright.
But, as the bill-clarifiers at NumbersUSA point out (see the sheets of relevant facts they've issued, linked below), there's no requirement in DREAM "that an amnesty applicant produce either documentation or any other evidence that the individual actually satisfies the criteria."
So what's to stop an alien from slithering into our country well after DREAM is enacted and still claiming DREAM eligibility some months or years down the road?
As a practical matter, nothing. And if you think word of this giant loophole won't be trumpeted along immigrant networks back to their countries of origin, thereby encouraging further illegal entries, then you haven't been paying attention all these years.
"Myth: The DREAM Act will result in a mass amnesty.
Fact: The DREAM Act is not an amnesty. No one will automatically receive a green card. To legalize, individuals have to meet stringent eligibility criteria: they must have entered the United States before age 16; must have been here for five years or more; must not have committed any major crimes; must graduate from high school or the equivalent; and must complete at least two years of college or military service. Eligible students must first obtain conditional residency and complete the requirements before they can obtain a green card–a process that will take years. Not all immigrants who came as young children will be eligible to legalize because they will not meet some of these requirements."
Oh yes, those "stringent" criteria for eligibility! In my view, the only one that might qualify as stringent is two years of military service. Anyway, all the supposed criteria are waivable by the Department of Homeland Security once they become too stringent, as the NumbersUSA folks point out.
What about the "It's not an amnesty!" claim? That's the usual hokum, of course. The DREAM beneficiaries get what they were after all along, without even a hint of a penalty. (Graduating from high school and attending college are punishments? Only if you're with the AIC in grasping at straws.)
But the big enchilada: once the DREAMers naturalize as citizens, they'll eventually be able to initiate chain migration of all their relatives, including their illegal-alien parents — i.e. the original criminals who brought them here .
You'll note that the AIC's myth-busting exercise about amnesty strategically includes nary a word about this blue whale in the room.
(By the way, what would be a good term for the up-to-age-30 DREAMer "youths," themselves? "Anchor youths" seems appropriate.)
Torpedoing AIC's remaining six myth-busting attempts about the DREAM Act is left as an exercise for the immigration-sanity reader.
To summarize: the AIC's paper on DREAM Act myths encapsulates enough evasive, beside-the-point facts to say that the whole thing is a de facto lie—a la the Soviet triumphalism recalled above.
"DREAM," by the way, stands for "Defense, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors." Presumably the Patriot side could come up with a more pertinent description of DREAM that would yield the acronym "NIGHTMARE,". But our efforts these days are better spent in substantive opposition.
These NumbersUSA fact sheets are several months old, so they're not up-to-date with respect to a few microscopic tweaks that principal DREAM sponsor Sen. Durbin [D-IL] has recently made to DREAM, yielding S. 3963, the latest version of the bill [PDF; and blessedly short at only 20 pages — what's the catch?? Oh, it's what I've written about above ...in part.].
But the NumbersUSA sheets are thoroughly up-to-date on the unchanging intrinsic horrors of the bill. Roy Beck's November 23 comments about those tweaks are here.