GOP, Fearing Backlash, Crafting Their Own Watered-Down Dream Act
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Word is leaking from the Senate that Republicans, facing stiff and well-deserved opposition from most Hispanic voters, are crafting a bill similar to but not nearly as good as the DREAM Act, a bill to legalize the immigration status of young people who grew up in the United States but are currently undocumented immigrants.
Reports indicate that a proposal backed by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who opposes the DREAM Act, would allow certain young people to eventually earn legal status by attending certain four-year colleges or serving in the U.S. military. The proposal would bar these young people raised in the United States from ever becoming citizens. Similar restrictive or watered down proposals are said to be coming from Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona (both of whom have supported the DREAM Act before now opposing it). Let's call them collectively the 'Stolen Dreams' Act.
This is a very dangerous game these Republican senators are playing with the lives of young people. With zero chance of such a proposal passing the Republican-controlled House, they are hoping to play politics with the immigration issue long enough to soften the Republican Party's image with Latino and immigrant voters, which, to be blunt, stinks. It is the equivalent of a batter protecting the plate in baseball, sending off foul tips to extend his time at the plate, but without actually swinging or making a serious attempt to get on base.
And it is a foul tip indeed. Unlike his parents and practically everyone else who has emigrated from Cuba, Senator Rubio feels the current cohort of immigrants in America should never be considered fully American. Even for infants brought to America by their parents and now fully Americanized, they can never be fully considered citizens and taxpayers if Senator Rubio has his way. It represents a sea change in American history; taking citizenship off of the table for a group of people for whom America is their only home.
Why? Because Senator Rubio and other Republicans fear legal immigration. Despite all the rhetoric out of one side of their mouths that they "only oppose the illegal kind" of immigration, the main argument they speak out of the other side of their mouth against citizenship is that citizens can sponsor close family members for visas to come legally.
Fox TV personality Lou Dobbs, during his segment on The O'Reilly Factor on March 23, spelled it out:
The big negative is -- and this is one of the things Senator Rubio has said -- it introduces chain migration. That is, you can bring family members into the line, that is, a path to legalization... Right now they could start bringing in their immediate families and then, depending on which version of the DREAM Act you look at, they could bring in their parents, you could bring in extended family members.
The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee agrees that citizenship and legal immigration are the perils of the DREAM Act. In an op-ed posted at Fox News.com, the gatekeeper to House Republicans when it comes to immigration wrote:
While DREAM Act supporters claim that it would only benefit children, they skip over the fact that it actually rewards the very illegal immigrant parents who knowingly violated our laws. Once their children become U.S. citizens, they can petition for their illegal immigrant parents and adult siblings to be legalized, who will then bring in others in an endless chain.
This is why Senator Rubio has said, "I think that one of the debates that we need to begin to have is a difference between citizenship and legalization." He told Fox News personality Juan Williams that he fears the DREAM Act would bring three or four million new people to the U.S.