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The Dream Act: Clearing up Misconceptions

Voces de la Frontera and Civil Disobedience

On Monday, Christine Neuman-Ortiz made news by getting arrested at Congressman Paul Ryan’s office in Racine. The Director of Voces de la Frontera refused to leave Ryan's office after closing hours because she wanted to make a "political statement" in support of the Dream Act.

Although I disagree with the manner in which Neuman-Ortiz made her statement, we agree that the Dream Act needs congressional support. After talking with Ryan about the Dream Act nearly two months ago, I am not convinced Republicans will support the bill without effecting serious “sequential” steps on the immigration front. And as we have witnessed in the past decade, it may take a while.

Chopping through the Rhetoric

On a national and state level, the Dream Act has created a stir. Most Democrats support it, most Republicans oppose it, and it’s likely to stall in the Senate if it makes it that far. Senator Harry Reid has not helped the situation by pushing through four versions of the Dream Act with little oversight.

The Dream Act (at least the most recent public version of it) is a bill written to provide undocumented individuals an opportunity to gain conditional permanent residency. The key word is "conditional". To meet the conditions, undocumented individuals must have been in the U.S before the age of 16, have stayed the country for at least five years, must have a clean criminal record and must have completed at least two years of college toward a four-year degree and/or finished two years of military service leaving with an honorable discharge. As one can see, it’s not your typical free pass.

The Wall Street Journal, the most respected conservative newspaper in the country, gave an endorsement of the Dream Act and suggested that the GOP compromise on the Dream Act in a collective effort to tackle immigration reform. The compromise is a win-win situation, but they don’t seem to know it. Not only would supporting the measure help Republicans win Latino support in the Mountain West states like Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, but it encourages hard work and military service. The WSJ summed it up this way,

"Restrictionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards people who entered the country illegally. But the bill targets individuals brought here by their parents as children. What is to be gained by holding otherwise law-abiding young people, who had no say in coming to this country, responsible for the illegal actions of others? The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded."

Answering the Detractors

Far right blogger Michelle Malkin has called the Dream Act a "massive amnesty entitlement program". And like many on the far right that use the term “amnesty” or “entitlement”, Malkin doesn't know what she's talking about.

Amnesty is a free pardon from the penalty of a past crime or crimes. One could say that when a cop pulls you over for speeding and lets you off with a warning, that is a type of amnesty. However, if you have met certain conditions or requirements to avoid that penalty, then it's no longer amnesty; it's something like an exchange.

Second, the Dream Act is not an entitlement program, at least not in the ordinary sense of the word. Latinos get nothing special from the bill, and they certainly don't get anything for free. Quite the contrary, if the bill passes, undocumented immigrants get to freely join the military to protect the freedom of those like Malkin who wouldn’t hesitate to disparage them in the process. Also, Malkin should realize that without the Dream Act, the use of entitlement programs will likely increase.

And third, Malkin likes to talk about the rule of law and how the Dream Act rewards lawbreakers. Yet if there is anyone who hasn’t sped a little too fast, parked in a no parking zone or didn’t completely stop at a stop sign, then please throw the first stone. To use Malkin’s logic, the cop that lets you off with a warning must be destroying the rule of law and rewarding lawbreakers.

Conclusion

When it concerns the Dream Act, it is hypocritical to advocate the sanctity of the rule of law when it comes to illegal entry, but not when it involves other misdemeanors like traffic violations.

I am also disturbed by the argument that those who were brought to this country without a say should be penalized for the decisions made by their guardians. Instead of making the issue a matter of partisanship, detractors should see it as a way to grow our skilled workforce, increase military recruitment numbers and encourage success.

In the past century, it seems like we’ve gotten away from this message. America became the greatest nation on earth because she readily afforded immigrants of all nations the freedom to pursue individual prosperity. By denying the Dream Act and essentially making it harder to succeed, the only thing Congress will encourage is a permanent underclass.

 

Comments (7)
  • Verlyn Steinbach  - Free ride for illegals

    Every young person afforded an opportunity to gain conditional permanent residency is the product of two parents. They may additionally have several siblings. You should know that all this immediate family will be instantly eligible for citizenship. So in point of law all the "illegal" family members will be granted citizenship. Therefore to say No illegals will be granted amnesty is wrong. You spend a lot of time bad-mouthing Mchelle Malkin. I read her articles regularly and I've seen her on TV. She is strongly in favor of immigration. I am strongly in favor of immigration. I worked with many in the US Navy.

  • Aaron M. Rodriguez

    Verlyn,

    You should probably check out Malkin's rants on the Dream Act. Google her name and the Dream Act, and if you don't come to a similar conclusion that she is a big mouth that only inflames the issue with partisan rhetoric, then I don't know if a discussion can be had.

    And to your point about their families, I don't really care if they all become citizens as long as some vetting is done to ensure, to some extent, our national security. Right now, the process is way too sluggish and probably contributes to increased illegal immigration.

    And if you're concerned about amnesty, then the GOP should get on board with pathways to citizenship that involve conditions like learning English, being employed, enrolling in school, being healthy and having a clean criminal record. Right now, all the GOP seems interested in deportation.

  • Rollin Shultz  - Simple / Complicated Issue

    One reason it is complicated, is because a Bill is needed to legislate
    actions which are contrary to laws already in place.

    It is further made complex because of lack of government enforcement of those laws going back at least to Clinton's administration, which has allowed illegal immigrants here unchecked.

    Another compexity is many of these people have nowhere to return, now that they are here so long.

    Those are the complex issues surrounding Hispanics from Mexico. I have known Hispanics from other countries, and all of them came here legally. They all hold multiple jobs and are hard working, mostly conservative and religious people. They are not a burden, but indeed a positive addittion to our country.

    The same cannot be said about those from Mexico, who are escapees from a country hijacked by ultra rich bankers. We are not getting productive Mexicans who are seeking to become Americans and engage in helping create a better America. Those who have snuck in, have shown they are easily molded into revolutionaries by socialist organizations like "LA Raza" etc. We don't need more zombies here.

    Simple facts:
    For those here illegally to become honorable citizens, they must do it properly through our laws. If they go back to Mexico (a hardship for sure), then they can work to come here legally, just like other Hispanic peoples from other countries. Giving the Mexicans a pass is an affront to Hispanics of other countries and dishonors their hard work.

    Allowing Mexicans to usurp the process and then giving them free college robs others of that college funding. There is not enough funding for Hispanic Americans here legally as it is, and then we want to give away their funding for Mexicans who have no respect for law and due process.

    The simplest solution, enforcing the law, is the hardest for illegals but that is the fault of long running bad government, which cannot be fixed by more bad government. If they had not had an escape route to America in the first place, who knows, maybe they would have revolted in Mexico and retaken it from the globalist bankers and corporations which have hijacked it. Here they are only cannon fodder for progressive political ambitions and questionable, even unamerican organizations.

    I love my friends from other nations and they deserve their slice of the American pie, not to see it given to those who despise our country and our way of life.

  • Oliver  - Encourage an Underclass? Something New?

    Congress does not need to provide 'new' encouragement for the existence of a permanent underclass for it has been doing so effectively for quite some time.

    Why would military service is being included as a requirement for citizenship? Is the new default, that all new citizens must be accepting of warfare and the military as an institution?

    Aren there no other frameworks left in the imagination of US political and gubernatorial leadership other than creating a conscript army, which will be treated como carne de cañon when the time comes, so that children that are already and have been as I say an underclass may gain, opportunity and dignity ?

  • Rollin Shultz  - Military requirement for citozenship

    The idea of requiring military service is to keep out the free riders, people who will not hesitate to send our troops overseas while never having served themselves. If we kept our military for defense only we could theoretically never need to actually put them into battle.

    We currently use our military as an industry, and our troops as lab rats, all the while our leaders are not required to serve. Notice my plan does not require (conscript) serving in the military, if you do not wish to vote or become a citizen. Those not willing to defend the country should not have the decision making powers over those who are.

    We should bring our troops home for defense. We need to put an end to imperialism overseas.

  • Oliver  - Re: Military Req for citizenship

    I appreciate the response. Though, don't really get some of your points. The trend of labeling immigrants as free riders is really outdated and inaccurate. It is analogous to the insistence in the 80s, 90s, and even today by people who love living in a cave, that the drug problem in the US is caused by and solely by other countries, and that the US is only a victim of degenerates from abroad.

    I also sense a contradiction in criticizing the military industrial complex. How as you say, the military is an intricate part of the economy, how troops are used for experimentation, how only a disadvantaged segment of the population serve in the U.S. military, but how still you would insist or support an additional disadvantaged group to be required to serve.

    Many of these adolescents, as mentioned a couple of post back did not have a say in the decisions which ultimately brought them here. Many, and this is not a stretch of the imagination are here because of U.S. foreign policy towards their parents' country of origin. To just name one example; does the Iran Contra Affair ring a bell at all. Does the U.S. backed / aided coup d'etat in Chile in 1973 leading to the assassination of President Salvador Allende ring a bell. U.S. contribution to a permanent cold war in places like Colombia. U.S. contributions to coup d'etat in other places like Honduras, most recently in 2009. Economic terrorism through the IMF as a de facto arm of U.S. policy implementing U.S. economic policy in Latin America. Other could add a few more I am sure.

    A significant number of adolescents who would be required to serve in the military are here because their parents were indirect victims of U.S. policies toward their countries' of origin. Now, proponents of the Dream Act think it is fitting not to ask, but 'require' them to serve in the military, the very institution and industry which in some cases caused their being uprooted from their country of origin.

    And lastly, I would respond to your last commentary with two questions. Is the only means to defend a country through the military? and, Are those in the military the only people who have the right to make decisions about how the country will be guided?

    I am inclined to answer in the negative to both ...

  • Rollin Shultz  - clarification of points.

    let's see if I can better clarify my points.
    Quote: "The trend of labeling immigrants as free riders is really outdated and inaccurate." If you reread statement one, the subject (free riders)is defined after the comma and nowhere in the sentence is the object (immigrants) mentioned. The definition then, of free riders pertains to those unwilling to defend our country, yet desiring to have a hand in running it. Typically those people would include most of congress (Democrats and Republicans alike), most wealthy people, and those who feel that military service is for the poor and or uneducated, not for them.

    Requiring military service peacetime?wartime for all who wish to become citizens/voters citizenship is earned and equally available to all, regardless of birthplace as long as they have legally immigrated or were born here. As you can see, this qualification means simply being born in America, by itself would not qualify one for citizenship.

    I understand your analogy, but since my statement does not call out immigrants, I will make ine comment about it.(the analogy) The drug problem in America stems from two sources:

    1. Those weak Americans, who lacking a relationship with God for their guidance, resort to drugs when they are overwhelmed by societal stress.

    2. It has been documented our CIA is the controlling force behind the importing of drugs to America. It is one factor in the deliberate causation of our country's destruction, by the Military industrial complex and the globalists who command it from behind the scenes. By making the drugs illegal, the price is inflated, while as a side business the prison system is ever increasing, and the war on drugs brings in many customers and properties for the government coffers. Believe it or not, it is easily searchable for anyone with a modicum of internet skills.

    Quote: "A significant number of adolescents who would be required to serve in the military are here because their parents were indirect victims of U.S. policies toward their countries' of origin. Now, proponents of the Dream Act think it is fitting not to ask, but 'require' them to serve in the military, the very institution and industry which in some cases caused their being uprooted from their country of origin."

    I agree with you, and I would go much further than you on this subject, but I will restrain myself so as not to shock you, and make me look like Mel Gibson in "Conspiracy Theory". Let us take Mexico for an example:
    . Statistics show our military is on the decline since the hoorah of 9/11 has worn off.
    . Since NAFTA and other initiatives have destroyed our ability to maintain our GDP through productive enterprises like MFG and other occupations which have moved out of the country, our only industry is Military imperialism. We are locked in now to conquest and destruction as a means to prosperity.
    . Someone must become the fodder for these initiatives, and since Americans are waking up to the fact our government has become puppets of the globalist bankers and corporations, then it has no qualms in offering the people of Mexico the opportunity to come here and serve in exchange for guarantees of citizenship. Now, stop and think about that fore a moment. Does the past, current, or next administration do this because they care about Mexican? Of course not, they are filling the need for more troops they can use and discard as necessary. Will this be worth it for the Mexicans? Before you decide, you should look further into, what has been done n the past to our troops through experimental injections, agent orange and now the latest and most horrid abuse of our troops, the pervasive use of Depleted Uranium rounds. All along our troops are riding around in humvees and sitting on boxes of DU ammo and have been told its OK. When they fire these rounds, there are particles of uranium dispersed all around them, but the govt says it's OK. Our troops will die early deaths from cancers and all manner of diseases and the govt will cover it up. Now if they will do that to American heroes, just think what they will do to these alleged brown people, for whom they care not.

    So again I must elucidate: my plan will only work with a proper military which operates for defense only, not as a business to make billions for bankers. I would bring all the troops home, and we would have a peacetime military, since all war is a factor of banking profits, and we do not need to be a tool for them.

    IN answer to the last two questions: Quote: And lastly, I would respond to your last commentary with two questions.
    Is the only means to defend a country through the military? There are two ways to defend a country from its enemies.
    1. A standing militia
    2. A structured military
    I believe in the militia concept, but in a world where technology is increasing and evil abounds, a militia cannot defend against missiles and invasion with tanks and other armored vehicles. So some form of military is a must.

    Quote:
    "Are those in the military the only people who have the right to make decisions about how the country will be guided?" You are flipping my statement backwards which changes the logic. The concept I presented was for a required minimum service (let's say four years), this is to weed out the selfish who are not willing to even consider dying as have so many to defend our liberties. It is also for character building and discipline. Since the concept also depends on a defensive military, more than 99% of all who serve would never see war.

    Now, would you not feel better about your fellow voters, if you could be sure they were unselfish, aligned with liberty, disciplined and informed and ready to step up and do their duty to vote in good conscience? Having memorized the constitution, you know they would not be ignorant and easily swayed by shady organizations like ACORN, LaRaza (The Race a truly racist organization), and if they immigrated from Mexico and served, you know they have worked alongside other Americans as equals, so they are loyal to America, not Mexico any longer. Citizenship must demand loyalty.

    I hope you realize, I am not against Mexicans. I don't know any, but I have and have had many Hispanic friends from other countries such as El Salvador, DR, Honduras, and many more. Please realize, the govt here has been corrupted, maybe beyond repair, they do not care about Mexicans, they will use them and discard them as necessary. Closely examine the hidden reasons for all offers and legislations. Finally the best thing the Mexican people can do is to stage a total revolt against their own govt and regain their freedoms and their country from the globalists who have stolen it from them, and just as in our civil war, many will die as many here did, but for those who survive, they will have the life they deserve in the country they love.
    Peace, my brother.

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Hispanics for School Choice