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Opinion: Revisiting the DREAM Act

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Many political analysts have been studying the demographic statistics of the election.  Some were very surprised by the low amount of Latino voters that came out to support Romney.  These analysts ran a random survey to ask Latino voters why they did or did not support Romney.  The top result gathered from the polls was Romney’s stance on illegal immigration.  The Republicans in the Senate took notice and have introduced a new bill dealing with immigration called the Achieve Act.

Introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX-R), Sen. John McCain (AZ-R), and Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ-R), the Achieve Act would allow young people under the age of 28 that were illegally brought over to America before the age of 14 by their parents to receive legal residency if they have completed higher education or military service and have worked for four years.  This would be considered a pathway to permanent residency, not citizenship.  It was also written without any Democratic sponsors or input after Congress has repeatedly stated that they want bipartisan legislation.  The Achieve Act would extend a new visa to illegal immigrants.  The immigrant must not have a serious criminal record, and they must agree not to “access government benefits, including federal student loans.”

Sen. Kyl told the Washington Post, “The administration has unfortunately chosen . . . to take the law into its own hands, choosing to ignore current law because it didn’t think it was good policy. Those of us who strongly believe in the rule of law believe that in our country, if you don’t like the law, change it, or seek to change it. Don’t violate it.”

The Achieve Act seems like a weak way to show that the Republicans in the Senate are willing to change their stance on immigration.  If one looks closely at the bill, there really is no change in the Republican stance. They are still not in favor of amnesty or any pathway to citizenship for young adults that were brought here illegally by their parents when they were younger. It was not the child’s fault that their parents brought them over the border. They should not be denied the opportunity to live here because their parents did not go through the legal process of gaining citizenship.

What the government should do to decrease the amount of illegal immigrants that are hopping the border is reform the process to gain citizenship.  There are people that have been in the country for many years and have been on a list to gain citizenship.  If the government were to reform the process, the amount of immigrants that cross the border would decrease. Green cards should last longer and there should be a more efficient way to determine whether or not one should receive citizenship.  Frederick Douglass said, “If we would reach a degree of civilization higher and grander than any yet attained, we should welcome to our ample continent all nations, kindreds [sic] tongues and peoples; and as fast as they learn our language and comprehend the duties of citizenship, we should incorporate them into the American body politic. The outspread wings of the American eagle are broad enough to shelter all who are likely to come.”

 

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