Friday, July 20, 2007

The Dream Act

Very seldom does a piece of legislation come before Congress that I would consider a slam-dunk, sure-fire approval. I think that the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is one of these. This Act affects the minor children of illegal aliens that came to this country before they were 16 years of age. Once these children finish High School, they are usually stuck. They don't qualify for student aid for college, can't join the military, can't work legally and are pretty much doomed to a life of poverty.

What this piece of legislation does is give these kids a chance. The student, who has grown up in this country, has to be a High School graduate, of good moral character (no criminal record) to qualify. The conditional status would last 6 years. At the end of the 6 years, the conditional resident would have to have completed 2 years of college or technical school or 2 years of military service or complete 910 hours of voluntary community service. After completing any of these pre-requisites, and having stayed out of legal trouble and avoided lengthy trips overseas (exceptions of course being made for deployments while in military service), the individual would then be eligible for permanent residency.

This is a win-win situation however you look at it. The military would get some much needed new recruits, these children would be able to get a college education (increasing the taxes received ... because college educated people make more taxable income), and these kids would be able to break the cycle of poverty that entraps illegal aliens.

And before everyone starts getting on me about supporting amnesty ... These kids have not committed any crimes. Remember this act states that they had to come over here before the age of 16. Their parents committed the crime ... not them. Some of these kids speak only English, some of them weren't even aware that they were here illegally until it came time to apply for financial aid for college, and their parents or guardians told them why they couldn't continue their education.

It's time for Congress to put aside their petty political bickering and enact this DREAM legislation ... because it's the right thing to do.

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31 comments:

The Ogre said...

Here's why I still can't support it. 1. There are alot of illegals that come here to have the child born, because that's a sure fire way to get a legit SSN.

2. It doesn't prevent illegals from still coming here. It doesn't have a coverage of who, other then under 16. Under 16 when?

3. All the extreme liberal groups who are fighting for illegal rights (a joke) would argue that since the child falls under the DREAM, they can't be seperated from the parents.

Nice idea, extremely flawed in execution, and just another loophole for amnesty.

snowelf said...

Yea...Ogre does have some very good points--especially about parents having their children here...but at the same time instead of these kids sucking up social resources, these kids are already here, going to "our" schools, working in "our" jobs and paying into "our" taxes. I don't see how we'd be losing out in the end giving them a chance to become productive citizens. They WANT the American dream, and that means they get to pay the American price tag like the majority of the rest of us. I'd rather give them a chance to put back into the system than only live off of it. Unless I don't know enough of how it works and I'm way off base, but I'd support getting them the skills to pay into the system instead of only being dependent on it. I'm more for a hand up than a hand out, I guess.
I just know I am very, very grateful for my financial aid because without it, I would never have been able to afford to go to school to make my life a thousand times better than it is right now.

--snow

Paul Champagne said...

ogre ... This law would only apply to children that came to the US, under 16 years of age ... and 5 or more years prior to enactment of the legislation. It is not an open-ended amnesty attempt. And once again, this is not amnesty ... the children did nothing wrong.

snow ... We are going to have the problem of the anchor babies until we appeal the 18th ammendment (which was enacted to ensure that former slaves and their children were not denied citizenship) ... which is being abused by illegals.

But you are right ... More productive members of society is the aim of this legislation.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

It's not true that children of illegals (carried across the border) can't join the military.

My husband works with a man that was carried across the border when he was a baby ... he was raised in L.A. and joined the Marines.

He earned his citizenship while in the Marines.

I also hear that there are several states that offer "in state" tuition to children of illegals.

Here in Nevada ... our Millennium Scholarship is almost bankrupt because the children of illegals are eligible. (This is what I hear on the news, anyway.)

I would be all for the children of illegals earning citizenship by joining and serving the military for four years. Then they would be eligible for the G.I. bill.

To avoid the fate of the Romans however,
these children of illegals would have to be very limited percentage of our military.

I do agree with "the ogre" that something needs to be done about anchor babies and their constitutionally guaranteed citizenship. The anchor baby problem here in LV is an epidemic.

I have to say this ... because it really burns me .... when we were almost out of health insurance for our baby ~ we had no good options.
We didn't qualify for regular Medicaid and we were not eligible to purchase health insurance for Matthew (who will need a lifetime of heart surgeries) ... but..
the babies of illegal aliens went home with full medical benefits.

I had to see that happen, all while we were facing horrible options.

Bugs me. Husband is a Gulf War Vet and a police officer.

niki yokota said...

this is a wonderful post!!
we have a problem of illegals too, but its hard to prevent.
better to save these children in poverty.

In_spired said...

Well, Golly Molly...you know how to put it on a person. This will be on my mind all day. Hubby and I read your post and agreed...and then we read the comments made...and some very valid points were made.

We had to do a lot of analyzing and getting to the real point of your post(it's about the kids) before coming to a final conclusion. I know where Steel Magnolia is coming from and I see her point wholeheartedly but if these kids aren't educated, the cycle will never be broken.

Being retired educators, we have taught so many of these kids and, you're right; their illegality is not their fault. I still work with young kids in our church mininistry that are illegal. They didn't ask for it and can't help it.

I've said a lot to get around to saying; at this point, we agree, if, in truth...it's all about the kids.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

in_spired:

They go to our pubic schools ...

they even have teachers that teach them in Spanish. Our city spent oodles on this program. From what I hear on the local news anyway.

So.. they have the opportunity to get an education. ??

MONA said...

This post is very insightful.I am very much impressed by the system, but I feel that snow & ogre haver a point there. You give them an inch & they take a yard & they do not want to take the other resposibilities.I have seen ppl from my own country reaping the benifits & denying the input back into the system. That is wrong.

In_spired said...

Terri Girl! I know, I know! I hear it every day of my life; how we're taken advantage of with all the government programs. Girl, I know from where you're coming.

And, too, I have mixed feelings about the subject. Mainly what I've based my opinion on is working with all the little kids and seeing the anguish in their little faces of all they live through (I should say 'exist'). Without hope for a better way of life, they have nothing. Yes, they go to our schools but when the school day is over, where do they go? What do they do? More often than not, they have no support and no parental guidance.

I'm not a debater nor one to argue a point. I'm just stating some personal feelings. It isn't my aim to offend anyone, especially you, dear girl!

(how could I argue a point with such poor spelling as in my previous comment?...ministry...NOT mininistry!)

In_spired said...

Oh, yes! Remember that I'm an Idealist and NOT a Realist. That is a large part of why I think as I do.

Paul Champagne said...

Not such a slam-dunk after all

I didn't think it would be. We are forgetting that as pissed as we are about the millions of illegals invading our country ... it is about the children. When I step out of my office and look to the south, I see a giant Mexican flag. This flag is in Mexico (about a mile away) ... I absolutely know the impact of illegal immigration on the United States. But I also know the stories of these kids. I know of one who's parents died when he was a baby. His aunt and uncle (US citizens) went and brought him from Mexico to live with them here in the United States at 15 months old. He was raised as a normal American boy, went to school, graduated High School, and was even offered a couple of football scholorships ... everything was going well for him till then. That is when he found out his immigration status. Bye bye scholorship, bye bye education ... hello poverty. He worked for a while as a short-order cook, but one day he was caught by immigration and deported. He is now in Mexico, learning Spanish and trying to survive.

How fair is that?

Terry said...

David and I have had fun discussing this. I validate the good arguments made by Ogre, Snow, and Terri!

As it is, MANY illegals have babies here, granting their children automatic citizenship. (BTW, The US is one of only a handful of countries in the world that offer this birthright citizenship anyway). An older sibling of one of these birthright citizenship babies could have been carried over here at age 1. The US could be the only life he/she knows and I can see why a little compassion for this kid is reasonable.

I can see where Terri is coming from too. It doesn't seem right that a child of an illegal alien gets free medical care and the child of a war vet does not!

These young people should not be able to have their college paid for. I don't think that the illegals should be entitled to a free ride through college. Myself and my ancestors have paid Taxes for YEARS in this country and we couldn't get any grants. They shouldn't either, unless of course, they served in the military and qualified for the GI Bill, like Terri said.

So, While I recognize the flaws in the Act, I would still support it. I can't think of a better way to help the kids who are here, and its not their fault that their parents broke the law. I think the writers of the Act tried to be as reasonable as they could with it, ie, younger than 16 and NO criminal record. I am glad they look at the juvenile criminal records in this deal. The kids are staying here anyway, this gives them an opportunity to be a contributing member of society instead of a drain. They won't have any more excuses.

Terry said...

Okay, Paul... you made a good case with the story of this young man you know. That is exactly the kind of case where we should show a little compassion. This Act gives a kid like that a needed break. His Aunt and Uncle were trying to help this orphaned baby. They probably could have done a little more to see that he came here legally as infant, but still, its not his fault. He is just the kind of individual that deserves relief from the Dream Act.

Paul Champagne said...

terry ... his aunt and uncle were stupid, they could have applied for a visa for the child and it would almost assuredly have been granted. They are actually the ones that committed the crime ... but once again, I can see why they did it, and I guess in this case stupidity is a mitigating factor. To top off their stupidity, they did not want the boy to know that he was not actually their son, so they did not tell him his status, and he missed applying for Reagan's amnesty program years ago. Once again not the kid's fault.

Mike M said...

I agree Paul. This is a very good start to helping others. Maybe Washington is not so bad.

TX is better though!!!

MONA said...

I see what you are talking about now. If it is the children who have been there since their infanthood, then surely they need state protection of this kind.

Paul Champagne said...

mike ... TX is better? What part of Texas did you go to?

mona ... I challenge someone to put themselves in the position of a teenager that grew up in a country, then found themselves deported to a country where they do not speak the language, don't know anyone, and where the culture is completely different. Sure it's fun to go on vacation in exotic places ... but to be dumped there forever, and broke? It's actually pretty scary. I've heard grown-ups complain of being worried when they have to move to a different state.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Well ... whatever happens in this country ....

as long as we care for our OWN AMERICAN BORN CHILDREN at the same time as we care for the illegals...

ESPECIALLY IN REGARDS TO HEALTHCARE ...

If children of illegals get "in state" tuition ... then, "out of state kids" that are struggling to go to college should be afforded the same benefit.

I know people that worked two and three jobs to afford college...

and really...
American children should get the same exact benefits illegal children do.

All children deserve healthcare and an education....

Terry said...

Again, about the young man you know that was deported... This kid did not commit a crime. At 15 months old, he obviously has no accountability for his illegal status. It sounds like he was a good kid who stayed out of trouble. SO... Why does INS even bother deporting HIM when there are SO MANY others that are accountable for breaking our laws, some even are guilty of violent crimes, or drug crimes, and they don't get caught or deported! I know that deporting illegals is a bit overwhelming... Couldn't INS prioritize a little better?

Paul Champagne said...

terry ... the INS just follows the laws that are on the books ... if we want fairness, we have to change the immigration laws.

As we have seen for the last couple of years ... this is no easy task. But we should start somewhere, and I can think of no better place than with the DREAM act.

David said...

The DREAM Act has flaws, but I can support it.

Anonymous said...

thousands of kids have their lives depending on the DREAM ACT. Why not give them an opportunity at a better life? its more than "i'm a legal and they're illegals"

Keshi said...

hey Bloway Boy ur a man with a very big heart and outlook to life. I LOVE YA.

btw u did well in the quiz...check it out ;-)

Keshi.

MONA said...

I can imagine that paul & it IS scary! Horribily scary!

Hey! you are up now on the experiment! Wish you all the best :)

Jenny! said...

I think this is a good thing, anything that will further education. But what about the Americans that can't afford college, don't qualify for financial aid and don't get scholorships!

lime said...

it's such a complex issue when the children are involved, i can't really say where i fall on this until i read more about it. but the story of that boy deported after being raised here is such a tragedy. we need to find a way not to enable the cheats but not to punish the innocents either. that much i can agree on.

The Lowest Rated Blog said...

I wrote this ONE YEAR ago in my lowest rated monologue [not a blog], and will post it here as it applies to Paul's note.

This is in ref to the lack of able bodies to join the war on terror. It is time to get serious with the illegal issue. There are millions and millions of able body illegals, some of them grew up and went to school here in the USofA with your tax money [if you live in a border town then you know this to be true]. Millions of them are proficient or have basic knowledge of the English Language. And we plan to kick all of them out the country. All engines stop. I have recommended to several of our senators, governors, and other elected officials [in WRITING] to allow a good number of THEM to join the military [17 to 42 years of age, with a clean legal record and in good physical shape]. Let THEM enlist in the US armed forces for at least TWO YEARS. Legal residency to be awarded after completion of boot camp. Mandatory Academic Skill classes [after normal working hours] for all non-high school graduates and all those lacking proficiency in the English language. US Citizenship to be awarded after completion of ONE YEAR of honorable service. Bottom line, give THEM the opportunity to serve and to EARN their citizenship. This is a win win proposition and it is my hope that those receiving my recommendation IN WRITING take it seriously and run with it.

Thanks for reading and have a very productive day.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

helllooooooooooo

:-)

Paul Champagne said...

david ... the DREAM act definitely has flaws ... I feel that it should actually be the military or the peace corps or many more hours of community service (not college), to earn legal residence ... but the Congress is way too liberal to go for that.

anonymous ... you bring up a good point. If you have ever had the misfortune to go to the actual immigration office, you will find it staffed almost entirely by immigrants. These people put their fellow immigrants through "hell". It is definitly an "I got mine" type of atmosphere.

keshi ... I tried to keep my captions within the James Bond theme ... the SOMA (Society of Midget Assasins) was my favorite too.

mona ... it would indeed be very scary. I just sent my contribution to the experiment to Mike, hopefully it will post tonight and you can take it from there. It ends with the Klingons capturing Helen so that they can put Klingon DNA into her unborn baby. (just kidding)

jenny ... I have found that if you really want to attend college, you can. It may not be the college of your choice, you may have to go into debt with student loans and it may take you 8 years for a 4 year degree ... but you can do it.

lime ... the problem is that everytime a good-intentioned law is passed ... there will always be people (cheaters) that will use it in ways that it wasn't intended ... and they will always be able to count on the ACLU to help them.

tlrb ... I wrote something about this on another blog back in January. I am going to update it and re-post "Starship Troopers" Heinlein had it right in some ways.

terri ... Hellooooo back at ya

Sorry, I've been super busy at work, and feeding the family comes first.

Elle*Bee said...

What a great post (and follow up dialogue). I do agree that it's about the kids, who had no say over whether to come to the US or not. Why not allow them the opportunity to *earn* the right to remain here? If it also helps bolster our communities (via community service), help our military, and end the cycle of poverty, all the better.

I do agree that if we are going to take care of the medical needs of those who are in our country illegally, then we should first take care of the needs of our own law-abiding, productive citizens who require assistance, and take better care of our veterans.

Very thought-provoking post.

Paul Champagne said...

elle*bee ... Sometimes I enjoy reading the comments more than the original post ... this is one of those times. This is a subject that requires a lot of soul searching for died in the wool conservatives. Imagine the dilema ... The "law and order" set now has to deal with the fact that these illegals have not done anything illegal and want to join the military. While every fiber in their being is screaming deport them all the part of their brains that I will call "the fairness center" is saying just wait a dogone minute .