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DADT vs. DREAM

I don’t think I’ve written anything about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but my views are the same as Paul’s. This is a decision that should be based on military effectiveness, not pressure group politics, and there is considerable evidence that in some contexts, at least, openly homosexual soldiers could pose problems. At the same time, my guess is that there are other contexts where having a handful of gay soldiers would not be a big deal. And in principle, of course, repeal of DADT can always be reversed if its consequences turn out to be problematic. Not that I expect this to happen.
The DREAM act, in my view, posed a much greater threat. The version of the act that was voted down in the Senate today–the fifth such version the Democrats have come up with–was a travesty. According to Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican member on the Judiciary Committee, the actual consequences of the act were much different from the feel-good descriptions we’ve seen in the press. To begin with, DREAM doesn’t just apply to “children:”

Proponents of the DREAM Act frequently claim the bill offers relief only to illegal alien “children.” Incredibly, previous versions of the DREAM Act had no age limit at all, so illegal aliens of any age who satisfied the Act’s requirements–not just children–could obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. In response to this criticism, H.R. 6497 includes a requirement that aliens be under the age of 30 on the date of enactment to be eligible for LPR status. Even with this cap, many could be much older before petitioning for status–hardly the “children” the Act’s advocates keep talking about. The bill’s 30 year old age cap on “children” only applies to date of enactment, and the registration window will remain open indefinitely regardless of future age.

Further, the act would create a safe harbor for just about any illegal alien that would stall deportation indefinitely:

Although DREAM Act proponents claim it will benefit only those who meet certain age, presence, and educational requirements, amazingly H.R. 6497 still protects ANY alien who simply submits an application for status no matter how frivolous. The bill forbids the Secretary of Homeland Security from removing “any alien who has a pending application for conditional nonimmigrant status”–regardless of age or criminal record–providing a safe harbor for millions.

The DREAM act would have opened the door for criminals of many stripes to become lawful residents (i.e., obtain amnesty) and ultimately become citizens:

Certain categories of criminal aliens will be eligible for the DREAM Act amnesty, including alien gang members. The DREAM Act allows the following illegal aliens to be eligible for amnesty: alien absconders (aliens who failed to attend their removal proceedings), aliens who have engaged in document fraud, aliens who have falsely claimed U.S. citizenship, and aliens who have been unlawfully present in the US, even after being previously removed.
The exemption for fraud is particularly troubling because it creates a potential loophole for unknown terrorists who have defrauded immigration authorizes–as was the case with the 9/11 hijackers. At the same time, limited federal resources that are better utilized on tracking down such fraud will have to be directed towards reviewing potentially fraudulent claims on millions of DREAM applications. Making matters worse, the DREAM Act still allows the Secretary to waive all grounds of inadmissibility for illegal aliens, including criminals and terrorists.

No one knows how many illegal aliens would obtain amnesty under the DREAM act, but the number is surely in the millions. Under U.S. immigration law, any naturalized citizen can sponsor his relatives to immigrate to the U.S. too. This will give the concept of an “anchor baby”–here, an anchor “child” who may be in his or her thirties or forties–a whole new significance:

Under current federal law, U.S. citizens have the right to immigrate their “immediate relatives” to the U.S. without regard to numerical caps. Similarly, lawful permanent residents can immigrate their spouses and children to the U.S. as long as they retain their status. This means illegal aliens who receive amnesty under the DREAM Act will have the right to petition for their family members–including the parents who sent for or brought them to the U.S. illegally in the first place–in unlimited numbers as soon as they become U.S. citizens and are 21 years of age.
Additionally, amnestied aliens who become U.S. citizens will be able to petition for their adult siblings living abroad to immigrate to the U.S., further incentivizing chain migration and potentially illegal entry into the United States (for those who don’t want to wait for the petition process overseas). When an adult brother or sister receives a green card, the family (spouse and children) of the adult sibling receive green cards as well.

Finally, press accounts of the DREAM act generally say that it is intended to benefit “children” who either serve in the U.S. military or attend college. I’m not sure why going to college should legalize an otherwise illegal act, but in any event, DREAM goes far beyond those boundaries:

DREAM Act supporters would have you believe that the bill is intended to benefit illegal immigrants who have graduated from high school and are on their way to earning college degrees. However, the bill is careful to ensure that illegal alien high school drop-outs will also be put on a pathway to citizenship – they simply have to get a GED and be admitted to “an institution of higher education.”
Under the Higher Education Act, an “institution of higher education” includes institutions that provide 2-year programs (community colleges) and any “school that provides not less than a 1-year program of training to prepare students for gainful employment” (a vocational school). To get LPR status, the alien must prove only that they finished 2 years of a bachelor’s degree program, not that they completed any program or earned any degree. If the alien is unable to complete 2 years of college but can demonstrate that their removal would result in hardship to themselves or their U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, child, or parent (the ones who brought them here illegally), the education requirement can be waived altogether. The bill actually allows illegal aliens to get legal status indefinitely without any college or military service.
Additionally, the bill provides no mechanism to combat the extensive fraud the will inevitably ensue – there is no meaningful way to verify that applicants have met even the bill’s loosest residency and education provisions. The bill is subject to extensive abuse and will worsen an already chaotic immigration situation.

If we had to go one-for-two on these issues during the Democrats’ disgraceful lame duck session, it is a very good thing that it was the DREAM act that was stopped, rather than repeal of DADT. The United States currently faces several existential threats. One is debt; another is entitlement and pension obligations that cannot possibly be made good; another is loss of sovereignty due to a lack of border enforcement. The DREAM act, along with similar anti-enforcement legislation, threatened our existence as a nation. Gays in the military don’t. So we should be grateful that some of the Democrats’ illegitimate initiatives, at least, have been stopped.
UPDATE: Our friends at Gay Patriot, as you would expect, have much to say about the repeal of DADT.

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