Fred Thompson has jumped into the DREAM Act debate occuring as I write in the US Senate. Thompson, who just published his plan for immigration reform this week, calls the Dick Durbin-sponsored act a “nightmare” that will constitute a back-door amnesty. He urges its defeat:
After several false starts Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) continues to push the DREAM Act. What is the DREAM Act? A nightmare.
The act would allow any illegal immigrant who entered the country before the age of 16 to receive conditional residency, which could then be converted to a non-conditional residency. These illegal immigrants can apply for this form of amnesty so long as they are under 30 and they weren’t older than 16 when they came to the country. And, of course, there is no way of proving when they illegally entered our country. After all, they are undocumented. Aliens would qualify even if they received and ignored a removal order if that order was received before they were 16.
Essentially, the DREAM Act puts some illegal aliens in a better position for residency than legal aliens who have played by the rules.
In addition to this stealth amnesty, the DREAM Act, would repeal a portion of the 1996 federal immigration law that prohibits any state from offering in-state college tuition rates to illegal aliens unless the state also offers in-state tuition to all U.S. citizens. Thus, if the DREAM Act passes, any state could offer such a break to qualifying illegal aliens.
The Senate debate essentially is covering the same ground. Jeff Sessions, who opposed the comprehensive immigration reform proposed earlier this year, has just objected to granting amnesty to 1.3 million people as a consequence of the DREAM Act. Arlen Spector, who supported the reform bill this summer, objected to offering this piece of comprehensive reform outside of a bill that would also include enforcement and visa reform. Jim DeMint has just made essentially the same argument.
Dick Durbin, on the other hand, says “we’re talking about children!” He’s avoiding the issue that created the objections in the first place. The DREAM Act uses children as a means to grant amnesty to the entire families involved. He’s holding up poster-sized pictures of college students. He tells the Senate that DREAM Act opponents will bear “the mark of Cain” for opposing educational subsidies for the children of illegal aliens that moves them ahead of legal immigrants and US citizens.
“The mark of Cain”? He thinks that opponents of DREAM Act are murderers? That’s demagoguery at its worst.
UPDATE: King Banaian can’t believe that students at his school haven’t figured out that the DREAM Act means higher tuition for themselves. I think more of them need to take his economics classes.
UPDATE II, 11:50 AM CT: The measure has failed to achieve cloture, as a handful of Democrats join most of the Republicans in voting against the DREAM Act. Durbin fell short of the votes needed to proceed to a floor vote. Spector cast the 41st vote against cloture.
UPDATE III: Final vote is 52-44 for cloture, falling eight votes short.