Opinion: DREAM Act

The Senate just voted to not vote on the DREAM Act until next week. The DREAM Act is a proposed bill which would provide a way for illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children to gain legal status.

I don’t like it. First, it’s not fair. People illegally brought to live here as children should not be forced by threat of deportation to adhere to arbitrary standards of education or behavior which are not required of children who happened to be born to parents who are citizens. Conditional nonimmigrants will pay the same Federal taxes, contribute equally or more to society and the state, and enjoy fewer freedoms than citizens.

More importantly, the requirements to be accepted as a permanent resident are troubling. The first states that the alien (the “conditional nonimmigrant”) must have demonstrated “good moral character”. That phrase is so general, anyone could be rejected for almost any reason.

And Sec. 6 (d)(1)(D) requires aliens to either complete two years of college or serve in the armed forces for two years. College doesn’t sound too bad, but conditional nonimmigrants are not eligible for Federal Pell grants. Children from illegal families tend not to have extra money to spend on higher education. I guess using poor Mexican kids as cannon fodder is one way to continue a foreign policy that is unusually heavy on ground-war invasions.

I have a better idea: include everyone who wants to live and work here, for any duration, in the equal rights, protections, and freedoms as everyone else. Unfortunately, the DREAM Act seems to be the best compromise currently available for young immigrants.