The Spectacle Blog

Mickey Kaus Is Making Sense

By on 12.18.10 | 5:33AM

On the DREAM Act, scheduled to be voted on by the Senate today. Kaus writes:

I'm anti-DREAM. The key point to make, at this moment, is that nobody who is reasonable in this debate wants to deport the appealing would-be beneficiaries of the proposed law: those brought across the border when they were young, who've known no other country—the high-school valedictorians, the law student who calls himself "a typical American kid who grew up in Brooklyn and roots for the Yankees," and "dreams of becoming a J.A.G. officer to defend the country I love."  The DREAM "kids" like these that you read about are clearly carefully selected for their appeal, and they lay it on a bit thick, but I assume their stories are real and there are tens of thousands of other stories sufficiently like theirs.

Many DREAM opponents also want take care of these "kids" (or former kids) by making them legal. Mark Krikorian, the anti-amnesty advocate whom I cite most, wants to take care of them. Even Roy Beck of Numbers USA seems to want to take care of them. But there is a way to do it that minimizes the unwanted long-term side effects of encouraging future illegal immigration from parents now living in other countries (who'd understandably like their kids to be made Americans, too), which would set the stage for another amnesty, which in turn would build up a constituency for the next amnesty in a cycle that doesn't seem to have any end point

And there is a way to do it that maximizes those long-term effects, by maximizing the number of immigrants who would be covered by DREAM, by offering no effective way to combat fraudulent applications, by creating rules so complex they'll collapse of the own weight, by passing the bill in a wave of ethnic passion and recklessly including no additional enforcement measures. That's the bill they'll vote on Saturday.

There are two major problems with legislation ranging from the DREAM Act to "comprehensive" immigration reform. One is that the conditions attached to the amnesty are, on careful examination, either unenforceable or close to meaningless. The second is that they don't deliver on their core promise of doing anything to deter another inflow of illegal immigration that will have to be dealt with another amnesty at a later date. Unfortunately, both these problems tend to exist by design.

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