The Spectacle Blog

Trying to Sell the DREAM

By on 12.2.10 | 1:34PM

Earlier this week, I had a column on the main site detailing how the superficially reasonable-sounding DREAM Act is in fact closer to a mass immigration amnesty and is highly open to fraud. For a while, the bill's supporters responded to such criticism by denying the massive loopholes in DREAM even existed. Yesterday, unable to pass DREAM in its earlier form, Democrats have switched tactics and are now trying to close the loopholes. Politico reports:

Senate Democrats have introduced their fifth version of the DREAM Act this year in a bid to tackle concerns from critics and win support from a handful of moderate lawmakers from both parties....

The latest version, filed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) late Tuesday night, would bar illegal immigrants from receiving in-state college tuition; drops the age of eligibility to 29 from 34; would not grant permanent legal status to anyone for at least 10 years; would restrict eligibility for those who commit certain misdemeanor crimes; and would limit individuals from being able to sponsor family members for U.S. citizenship, among other changes.

Those who receive conditional legal status under the DREAM Act also would be ineligible for Medicaid, food stamps and other government-funded benefits.

David Frum proposes some additional tweaks that could turn DREAM into what it claims to be -- a small legalization targeting deserving young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own and only know this country -- rather than a down payment on a broader amnesty. Given the Republicans' commitment to filibuster until the tax cuts are extended, DREAM is unlikely to pass in any form. But any compromise conservatives consider ought to come in the context of a real, no-amnesty approach to reduce the existing illegal immigrant population to a manageable level.

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