Monday, April 27, 2009

Opponents call Dream Act a “bad dream”

We reported last week that some colleges want congress to give illegal immigrants tuition help and a path to citizenship. The College Board, made up of 5,000 schools, issued a report "Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students". It calls for passage of the Dream Act, federal legislation that would open up in-state college tuition, financial aid and legal status to as many as 360,000 illegal immigrants nationwide with high school degrees.

The blog post set off a wave of emotional comments. I asked Ron Woodard of NC Listen, which advocates for stronger enforcement of our immigration laws, why the Dream Act and the access to colleges issue draws such a charged response.

This is what he told me:
For people who call me and email me, the Dream Acts gets people more riled up than any other issue. People look at the Dream Act and they see it as a bad dream. They say it's harder and harder for our children to get into college. Yes, there is competition and that is the way it should be. But why should our children have to compete with people who shouldn’t be here?

...People really do see that likelihood that someone is going to be pushed out from the bottom. It might not be their child, but someone is going to get pushed out of the bottom by someone who shouldn’t be here in the first place. And, once they graduate, where are they going to work? It’s against the law to hire them.

Woodard later sent me an email elaborating on some of his points. An excerpt:
If an illegal immigrant remains in the USA long enough to graduate high school, one is then an adult and can return to their native Country to attend college or trade school to better themselves. The US Supreme Court did not rule illegal immigrants could stay in the USA. The ruling simply said illegal immigrant dependents could go to K-12 public schools as long as they were here or until deported. This is another example of how granting privileges to illegal immigrants simply leads to the expectation of more privileges.

Gumecindo Salas of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Ira Mehlman of the Federation For American Immigration Reform debate the merits of the Dream Act on CNN.

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