From time to time my office distributes press releases and written statements on state and national issues, debate in the Senate, and legislation that I am working on. For your convenience, I post these documents on my site for your review.
DEMOCRAT LEADERS CONTINUE PUSH FOR MASS AMNESTY
DREAM ACT DOES NOT REQUIRE HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE, OR MILITARY SERVICE. THOSE ELIGIBLE FOR AMNESTY INCLUDE REPEAT CRIMINAL OFFENDERS.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S.3992, the DREAM Act. This version of the legislation was introduced just last week and, remarkably, is one of four versions introduced in the last two months.
Though the DREAM Act would make substantial changes to immigration law, it has had neither hearings nor Committee process. As a result, the public and the Senate have not had time to analyze the proposal, and forcing a vote in the lame-duck session of Congress is both reckless and irresponsible. The Congressional Budget Office says that the DREAM Act is expected to add AT LEAST $5 billion to the federal deficit—a figure that will almost certainly grow given that the CBO fails to take into account a multitude of factors including the litigation, fraud, and chain migration that will result from its passage.
In addition to immediately placing an estimated 1–2 million illegal aliens on a path to citizenship (a number expected to grow since the bill has neither a cap nor a sunset), the DREAM Act will give them access to federal student loans and federal work-study programs. The bill allows illegal aliens to get legal status indefinitely without attending college or joining the military. Additionally, it allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive ineligibility for serious criminals and those who pose a threat to our national security.
Aliens granted amnesty by the DREAM Act will have the legal right to petition for entry of their family members, including their adult brothers and sisters and the parents who illegally brought or sent them to the United States, once they become naturalized U.S. citizens. In less than a decade, this act could easily triple the number of green cards that will be immediately distributed as a result of the DREAM Act, rewarding millions who unlawfully entered the United States.
Ten Things You Need To Know About
The DREAM Act (S.3992)
1. The DREAM Act Is NOT Limited 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, S.3992 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.
2. The DREAM Act Will Be Funded On the Backs Of Hard Working, Law-Abiding Americans
Though S.3992 was placed on the Legislative Calendar on December 1, 2010 (and introduced just the previous evening), the CBO released a score the very next day. Proponents of the DREAM Act have failed to acknowledge that CBO estimates “the bill would increase projected deficits by more than $5 billion.” But the number is likely to be dramatically higher. The CBO has clearly failed to account for a number of major costs factors with the DREAM Act, including increased unemployment of U.S. citizens, public education costs, chain migration, and fraud. Nor does the CBO take it account what history has proven: passing amnesty will incentivize even more illegality and lawlessness at the border. In addition, the CBO assumes a large portion of those who receive amnesty will obtain jobs, but there is no surplus of job opportunities. The score doesn’t count those who can’t get jobs because of this competition and will claim unemployment benefits.
The DREAM Act requires that DHS/USCIS process all DREAM Act applications (applications that would require complex, multi-step adjudication), though it accounts for no fees to handle processing. This mandate would require either additional Congressional appropriations, or for USCIS (a primarily fee-funded agency) to raise fees on other types of immigration benefit applications. This would unfairly spread the cost of administering the DREAM Act legalization program among applicants and petitioners who have abided by U.S. laws and force taxpayers to pay for amnesty.
Though the DREAM Act doesn’t mention fees, the CBO assumes all illegal aliens will pay a $700 fee to submit an application. USCIS, however, recently implemented a formal process whereby fees can be waived for hardship. It is likely that most of those petitioning for status under this bill will fall within a hardship exception and not pay any fees at all. Taxpayers would also be on the hook for all Federal benefits the DREAM Act seeks to offer illegal aliens, including student loans and grants.
3. The DREAM Act PROVIDES SAFE HARBOR FOR ANY ALIEN, Including Criminals, From Being Removed or Deported If They Simply Submit An Application
Although DREAM Act proponents claim it will benefit only those who meet certain age, presence, and educational requirements, amazingly the Act 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. Though the bill requires a modest “prima facie” showing of eligibility, this is the lowest standard of legal proof and could likely be satisfied by the alien’s signature. This loophole will open the floodgates for applications that could stay pending for many years or be litigated as a delay tactic to prevent the illegal aliens’ removal from the United States. Such delays will increase the number released on bail and will increase the number of absconders. The provision will further erode any chances of ending the rampant illegality and fraud in the existing system, and the bill becomes a surrender to illegality.
4. Certain Inadmissible Aliens, including those from high-risk regions, Will Be Eligible For Amnesty Under The DREAM Act
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.
5. Certain Criminal Aliens—including drunk drivers—Will Be Eligible For Amnesty Under The DREAM Act
Certain categories of criminal aliens can qualify for status under the DREAM Act. The bill includes a 3-misdemeanor rule, similar to the 1986 amnesty rule. As a result, criminal aliens who have less than 3 misdemeanor convictions will remain eligible for legal, permanent status through the DREAM Act. Some misdemeanors can be extremely serious, such as driving under the influence, certain drug offenses, gang activity, some charges of sexual abuse of a minor, assault and battery, and even prostitution.
6. Conservative Estimates Suggest That At Least 1.3 Million Illegal Aliens Will Be Eligible For the DREAM Act Amnesty. In Reality, We Have No Idea How Many Illegal Aliens Will Apply
Section 4(d) of the DREAM Act waives all numerical limitations on green cards, and prohibits any numerical limitation on the number of aliens eligible for amnesty under its provisions. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that the DREAM Act will make approximately 1.3
million illegal aliens eligible for amnesty immediately. It is highly likely that the number of illegal aliens receiving amnesty under the DREAM Act will be much higher than estimated due to fraud and our inherent inability to accurately estimate the illegal alien population. Estimates also fail to account for the chain migration which will inevitably occur once these illegal aliens are naturalized, and for children who will be eligible years down the road. Section 7 of the bill allows the Secretary to make those who have already met the Act’s requirements to become immediately eligible for LPR status.
7. The DREAM Act Does Not Require That An Illegal Alien Finish Any Type of Degree (Vocational, Two-Year, or Bachelor’s Degree) As A Condition of Amnesty
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). Within 8 years of the initial grant of 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.
8. The DREAM Act Does Not Require That an Illegal Alien Complete Military Service As A Condition For Amnesty, and There Is already A Legal Process In Place For Illegal Aliens to Obtain U.S. Citizenship Through Military Service
DREAM Act supporters would have you believe that illegal aliens who don’t go to college will earn their citizenship through service in the U.S. Armed Forces. If the alien is unable to complete 2 years in the Armed Forces, and can demonstrate that their removal would result in hardship to themselves or their U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, child, or parent, the military service requirement can be waived altogether. Such claims will likely engender much litigation and place a huge burden on DHS.
Furthermore, under current law (10 USC § 504), the Secretary of Defense can authorize (and presently does) the enlistment of illegal aliens. Once enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces, under 8 USC § 1440, these illegal aliens can become naturalized citizens through expedited processing, often obtaining U.S. citizenship in six months. All branches of the military are currently meeting their recruitment goals.
9. Despite Their Current Illegal Status, DREAM Act Aliens Will Be Given All The Rights That Legal Immigrants Receive—Including The Legal Right To Sponsor Their Parents and Extended Family Members For Immigration
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.
10. Current Illegal Aliens Will Get Federal Student Loans, Federal Work Study Programs, and Other Forms of Federal Financial Aid
Section 10 of the DREAM Act allows illegal aliens amnestied under the bill’s provisions to qualify for federal student assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) in the form of federal student loans (Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans), federal work-study programs, and other federal education services such as tutoring and counseling.
Previous versions of the DREAM Act included a provision repealing the federal law that prohibits states from providing in-state tuition unless it’s similarly offered to citizens and legally present aliens living in other states. Despite the federal ban put in place over 14 years ago, at least 10 states directly violate this law. Enactment of the DREAM Act will only incentivize more states to provide financial assistance to illegal aliens over American students.