Monday, November 5, 2007

Senator Durbin responds vis a vis the DREAM Act

This email I received from Senator Durbin gives a window into the philosophy of those that put illegal immigration and the rule of law behind compassion.

Thank you for contacting me about the Development, Relief, and Education
for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. I appreciate hearing from

The DREAM Act, which I first introduced with bipartisan support in 2003, would provide permanent residence to undocumented young people who have proven their desire to fulfill the American dream.

These young people were brought to the United States as children, when they did not have the independence to make choices on their own. Often, these young people did not discover until much later that the decisions made by their parents left them without a country to call their own. Since arriving here they have attended school, learned English, contributed to their communities, and want to be productive members of our society.

There is currently no way for these deserving young people to legally earn U.S. permanent residence or citizenship. The DREAM Act simply provides them with that opportunity. In return, the bill requires that these young people prove themselves by satisfying several requirements, all of which must be verified by appropriate documentation.

In order to qualify for residency under the DREAM Act, these members of our communities must have come to our country before the age of 16 and must have lived here for at least five years before the bill becomes law. They must refrain from criminal or immoral behavior, and they must have earned a high school degree. Most importantly, they must either complete two years of college or serve at least two years in the military.

I believe our country would benefit greatly if young people who meet these conditions are given the chance to become U.S. citizens.

The DREAM Act would help our military, which faces a serious recruitment crisis. Under the DREAM Act, tens of thousands of well-qualified potential recruits would become eligible for military service. Defense Department officials have said that the DREAM Act is "very appealing" to the military because it would apply to the "cream of the crop" of students. They have concluded that the DREAM Act would be
good for readiness.

For those who pursue college, the DREAM Act provides the opportunity to become an American scientist, nurse, teacher, engineer, or an American in any other profession that requires a college education. Since 2003, we have watched intelligent, ambitious students graduate from high school only to end up in low-wage undocumented jobs because they cannot attend college or work legally. As a result, the United States loses future leaders and social vibrancy as well as tax revenue and economic growth.

I understand the concerns some have about the expense of the DREAM Act. This bill does not provide free financial aid to any individual. Although an earlier version of the DREAM Act allowed states to decide whether their undocumented students should be eligible for in-state tuition, that provision was later removed. I have led the effort in Congress to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and I will continue to support such efforts.

Some opponents of this legislation suggest that it would encourage illegal immigration or that it would provide amnesty to illegal immigrants. This is not the case. Applicants are required to have already been in the country for at least five years before enactment of the DREAM Act. Furthermore, family members of DREAM Act applicants would remain ineligible for legal status.

I have consistently supported efforts to deter illegal immigration. Soon after the debate on immigration reform, I voted in favor of a Homeland Security Appropriations bill that included $3 billion in emergency funding to ensure quick implementation of the bill's border security provisions. The fact remains, however, that the United States can benefit from the contributions of thousands of hardworking, upstanding young people who have proven themselves and who want to live and uphold the American Dream.

In October 2007, the DREAM Act was brought to the floor of the Senate. Although 52 senators - including 11 members of the minority - voted to end a filibuster on the bill, 60 votes were needed to proceed to a final vote. As a result, the DREAM Act did not receive final consideration.

There is no doubt that our current immigration system must be reformed. We need reforms that are tough and enforceable but also fair and consistent with our nation's values. I will continue to support legislation, such as broader enforcement and the DREAM Act, that advances us toward these goals.

I hope this letter helps you better understand my support for the DREAM Act. Thank you again for your message.

There is all sorts of equivocation, rationalization and out and out nonsense all throughout this email. Frankly, Durbin said nothing that I didn't expect him to say and so the email is instructive of the belief system of those that don't treat illegal immigration with any seriousness. As I predicted, Durbin appeals to our basest emotion. He wants everyone to have compassion for law breakers. Durbin is absolutely right that this bill only pertains to children of illegals. They had no decision in coming over the border illegally, and for this reason we should have mercy on them and allow them to stay.

The problem is that illegal immigration works much like Pavlov and his mice. If you reward illegal immigration, you encourage more of it. This may not be compassionate and it may win me no friends in certain circles, however it is the reality. While I have sympathy for the folks covered under the DREAM Act, I cannot allow for them to get blanket amnesty. By doing so, more illegals will be encouraged to cross the border in hopes that their children will also be given amnesty. While it may play well politically for Durbin to stand up for the little guy, and it may even open up a new voting block, what it won't do is create good policy.

His reasons for why this won't encourage more illegal immigration do not work for me and here is why. While it is true that they encourage people to be good citizens, it still encourages them to come here illegally and then be good citizens nonetheless. The goal is to end illegal immigration, not merely limit it to illegals that are good citizens.

He goes onto claim that he is in favor of tough enforcement and I guess I am supposed to be impressed because he favored a bill that is one third the net worth of George Soros. I am not. So far the only thing I see is him giving a pathway to citizenship to millions of illegals. Anyone that commits to a pathway to citizenship for illegals before the border is secured is not serious about stopping the flow of illegals.

He even goes so far as to claim this bill will help our military. That is the height of hubris. I don't know if this is true and I don't care, because I know that we should be able to build a successful military without legalizing millions of illegals.

What Durbin does is what many who support illegal immigration do. First, he never refers to them as illegals. In this case, they are undocumented. Second, he appeals to the basest emotion, in this case empathy. Third, he lists all of the potential benefits without once addressing any problems. The fact that illegal immigration may have benefits is beside the point. Our country thrived long before a plethora of illegals filtered into our nation. It is ludicrous and insulting to suggest that there are benefits to illegal immigration. There are benefits to all sorts of things that ultimately have a lot more negatives. Hillary Clinton's baby bond idea also has benefits and it doesn't make it any less of a ridiculous idea.

Ultimately, politicians have to decide if they are serious about illegal immigration or if they are pretending. Durbin has decided to pay lip service and it is shameful.

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