Late last year, the U.S. Senate tried but failed to muster the votes necessary to pass the so-called DREAM Act, often referred to by its opponents as the Nightmare Act. Through the courage of a few of its members, the Senate narrowly averted the terrible mistake of authorizing a deeply-flawed bill that would have afforded a backdoor approach to amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. But despite the near mistake of the past year, Sen. Michael Bennett (D,CO) has now joined Sen. Dick Durbin (D,NY) in re-introducing this unfortunate bill. This bill is best characterized as an effort to grant illegal aliens, far too cheaply it turns out, the opportunity to become citizens. It is basically a back door amnesty bill.
One of the Senators' selling points for the bill is the possibility of a new source of recruits for the armed forces. Actually no new legislation is necessary to give these young people a chance to give back to this country through military service. According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, about 35,000 non-citizens already serve and 8,000 permanent resident aliens enlist in our Armed Forces every year. What’s keeping those who would come under this bill from doing likewise? That is the best way for them to prove their patriotism and loyalty to the U.S. while at the same time opening a pathway to citizenship for them. Two years of college is not nearly an adequate substitute for four years of military service.
So what needs to be done to strengthen this bill and narrow its scope to those who are especially worthy?
First of all, the military enlistment requirement needs to be increased to four years. To be eligible for consideration, each applicant must serve a four year enlistment in the armed forces. College or some other form of service is not an acceptable substitute for military service and therefore must be eliminated in the revised bill. Since almost anyone can successfully complete two years at a community college, this old DREAM Act provision provided an unwarranted opportunity to gain access to the citizenship benefits without any real commitment to this country. Countless men and women have had to put their lives and their college educations on hold while they served their country. Many citizens enlisted for four years when our country called. I was one of them and I met many more who interrupted their college educations to meet the call. An Act strengthened to require applicants to enlist for four years in the military would assist with military recruiting and readiness.
Second, the bill as written is very weak on enforcement and audit. Applicants must be required to present at least four forms of notarized documents sworn under oath and subject to perjury charges that prove they meet all of the bill’s criteria. One of these documents must be an honorable discharge from military service.
Third, this one time window of opportunity to apply must be narrowed to the six month period following the president’s signature of the bill. During that six month period there must be a continuous audit of valid statistical samples of the applications to determine the extent of attempted fraud. To discourage fraud, fraudulent applications should result in immediate deportation without recourse.
Fourth, successful applicants must be specifically prohibited from ever sponsoring other relatives for permanent residency.
An Act, strengthened as outlined above, will, by no means, be a silver bullet. The Congress must take action to tighten the immigration system to: (1) reduce the total legal immigration quota to the level of the 1950s, about 250,000 per year exclusive of foreign students, tourists and temporary farm workers; (2) level the playing field for relatives and non-relatives of citizens or permanent residents and count all of them against the overall quota; (3) limit the special consideration to the spouses and minor children of citizens; (4) secure the border through intensive and continuous internal enforcement to crack down on illegal aliens and their employers through the mandatory use of E-verification across the board for all employers , public and private, and all employees, both current and potential new hires; (5) sentence immediately every illegal alien who is apprehended to a six month term working on border infrastructure before he is deported with the admonition that if he returns he will do hard time as a repeat offender; (6) require the illegal aliens to also pay a fine and pay any back taxes that are due.
The inaction of the Congress has come at the expense of ordinary citizens who see their quality of life and standard of living being eroded by unwanted and unneeded population growth.
President Obama has spoken about “…the elusive middle ground” on immigration reform. If we think of this problem in terms of one goal line representing what amounts to mass legalization and the other as mass deportation then the illusive middle ground must be found somewhere near the 50 yard line. Yet, those who have been most vociferous in pushing their version of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) have not moved an inch away from their amnesty goal line. These zealots are still sitting in their end zone plotting new strategies to delude the American people into thinking they have actually compromised on this issue. A pre-condition of mass amnesty or mass legalization, with or without conditions, is not the middle ground -- not even close!
But in the absence of comprehensive reform, we should work to boost our economy, strengthen our Armed Forces and help hard-working kids fulfill their full potential by writing a new DREAM Act that narrows the eligibility to those who have enlisted in the armed forces for at least 4 years and who can meet all of the other criteria. Reluctant members of Congress and the American people will support a stronger bill that eliminates the loopholes and provides for audit and enforcement, and so will a majority of the U.S. Senate. But for many kids, the clock is ticking. The Administration can and should act now to grant deferred action to illegal aliens as soon as they enlist in the armed forces. These individuals will be more mature as a result of their military service and consequently they will be better students when they are able to resume their education.
If the Congress wishes to pass an amnesty bill for a limited category of illegal aliens, then the way forward is clear. If some of the best and brightest among the illegals wish to absolve themselves of any guilt regarding their illegal entry and presence, their way forward is also clear -- the nearest armed forces recruiting office. There is no reason why the potential of some of our best and brightest students should be cut short. They and the Congress have the solution right in front of them. All it takes is action on the part of both parties. While punishment for the actions of others is not a desirable thing, neither is the rewarding of illegal behavior in a way that would promote even more illegal behavior. Again, we are looking for that illusive middle ground of a strengthened bill and a penance of sorts for the actions of those who created this problem in the first place. Honorable service in the armed forces for four years is a small price to pay. Anything else is unacceptable.
If we are going to get our fiscal house in order and preserve our quality of life and standard of living we need to pay a lot more attention to world and U.S. population growth.
Working for logical immigation reform based on a stable population, a recognition of the finite nature of our natural resources and the adverse impact of continued growth on our quality of life, standard of living, national interest, character, language, sovereignty and the rule of law. Pushing back and countering the disloyal elements in American society and the anti-American rhetoric of the leftwing illegal alien lobbies. In a debate, when your opponents turn to name calling, it's a good sign you've already won.