The House has passed the so-called Dream Act that would grant illegal immigrants a path to citizenship provided they crossed the border below the age of 16 and they attend college or serve in the military.
According to the LA Times:
“Eight Republicans joined in approving the bill, 216 to 198. Thirty-eight Democrats voted no. The measure offers a path to citizenship for young people who were brought to this country illegally before age 16 and who have enrolled in college or entered the military.”
Supporters of the bill argue that illegal aliens who crossed the border as children had no choice in the matter, as they were brought into the United States by their parents. Many have been raised as Americans and have no knowledge of the countries of their birth, so deporting them would be something of an unfairness.
Opponents of the bill respond by pointing out that the laws against illegal entry into the United States apply to children just as much as adults. By granting child illegal immigrants a path to citizenship without going through the somewhat lengthy and onerous process legal immigrants have to go through, an incentive is provided for adults to bring their children into the country illegally. Just as “anchor babies,” children born in the United States of illegal aliens who are, legally, citizens, provide a disincentive to deport illegal immigrants, a whole new class of “anchor children” would be created.
On the larger political front, this seems to be the second time that Nancy Pelosi and the outgoing Democratic-controlled Congress is making a gesture rather than seriously trying to pass legislation. The first time, the House passed essentially a massive tax increase for those Americans making over $250,000 a year by refusing to extend the Bush tax cuts for them. The measure died a quick death in the Senate. President Obama, reneging on one of his own campaign promises, has rejected that idea and has urged an across-the-board extension.
The Dream Act is likely headed for a similar fate in the Senate. Republicans have vowed to filibuster all legislation until the extension of the Bush tax cuts and spending for FY2011 are resolved. In any event, there are likely not the votes to obtain a cloture motion to pass the Dream Act in the Senate.
Pelosi and the House Democrats appear to be playing to the liberal base, showing that congressional liberals are still willing to fight the good fight to raise taxes on the so-called rich and grant at least some illegal immigrants amnesty. But these gestures appear to be a misreading of the 2010 midterm elections. Polling data suggest not only great skepticism toward any kind of tax increase, but also anything that could be called amnesty for illegal aliens.
More proof that the Democrats have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.
Sources: House passes immigration Dream Act, Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey, LA Times, December 9th, 2010
Obama Makes Agreement with Republicans on Bush Tax Cuts, Other Tax Incentives, Unemployment Aid, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, December 7th, 2010
Congressional Democrats Have Forgotten Nothing and Learned Nothing, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, December 3rd, 2010