The nation’s unemployment rate stands at 9.8 percent, a post–World War II record 19th month that unemployment has been over 9 percent. President Barack Obama is the largest tax hike in American history. So what do Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) have Congress voting on today? Amnesty. Specifically, the House and Senate will be voting on the fourth and fifth versions of the DREAM Act, which would legalize anywhere between 300,000 and 2.1 million illegal immigrants.
Supporters of the DREAM Act claim the bill would provide citizenship only to children who go to college or join the military. But all any version of the legislation requires is that an applicant attend any college for just two years. And if President Obama wants to reward non-citizen service members with citizenship, he already has the power to do so. The Secretary of Defense already has the authority under 10 U.S.C. § 504 (b) to enlist illegal immigrants in the military if “such enlistment is vital to the national interest,” and 8 U.S.C. § 1440 allows such immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens, with their applications handled at accelerated rates. The military component of the DREAM Act is a complete red herring.
Neither of these bills has gone through their respective committees, and only one has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. As a result, they are chock full of loopholes designed by open border advocates to make an even wider amnesty possible.
One bill would even grant Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano the power to waive the college and military requirements if the illegal immigrant can demonstrate “compelling circumstances” and the immigrant’s removal would cause a hardship to the them, their spouse, their parents, or their children. When exactly would removal from this country not cause a hardship? What other loopholes are in these bills? As Speaker Pelosi might say: “You have to pass this amnesty so that you can find out what is in it.”
The DREAM Acts are also an invitation for fraud. All of the bills would make it illegal for any information in an amnesty application to be used to initiate removal proceedings against an applicant. Law enforcement agencies would be forced to prove that any information they used to find, detain, and try to remove an illegal immigrant was already in their files before an application was received or was not derived from the application. If an illegal immigrant lies about his age to qualify for the program, and the lie is never detected, he gets amnesty. And if the lie is found out, no worries—law enforcement is forbidden from using that lie against him.
The real goal of the DREAM Act is to make it even harder for our nation’s law enforcement agencies to enforce any immigration laws. And Congress is not the only forum where amnesty advocates are working to undermine the rule of law today. Right across the street from the Capitol, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments over an Arizona immigration enforcement law. This is not a hearing on the controversial SB 1070 law that passed earlier this year. This case, supported by the usual amnesty suspects (La Raza, the SEIU, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.), challenges Arizona’s 2007 E-Verify law, which penalizes employers who do not verify the legal status of their employees. This challenge by amnesty advocates to even common-sense immigration enforcement measures should send a clear measure to anyone wavering on the DREAM Act: Any enforcement mechanisms that DREAM Act supporters agree to today will be immediately challenged in court tomorrow. Enforcement is fickle; amnesty is forever.
Our country does need immigration reform. We need smarter border security, stronger interior enforcement, and a more efficient naturalization system. But amnesty plans like the DREAM Act undermine real reform. The DREAM Act encourages people to ignore our borders, undermines our law enforcement across the country, and makes fools of law-abiding immigrants who play by the rules.