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Once again, an effort to give illegal aliens a glide path to permanent legal residency failed.
The bill, called the DREAM Act, was brought up for a cloture vote in the Senate on Wednesday. It failed by a 52-44 margin. It takes 60 votes in invoke cloture, ending discussion.
"DREAM" stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. No doubt this cumbersome name was chosen by its sponsors in order to give it a cute acronym. It would extend amnesty to illegal aliens who entered the United States before the age of 16 and have been here for at least five years. The recipient of this amnesty can then use it to seek legal residency for his parents who brought him to the U. S. The DREAM Act does not require an illegal alien to provide documents proving that he entered the U. S. before the age of 16.
His legal status would be conditional. In order to make it non-conditional he would have to complete two years of study at a post-high school educational institution or enlist for two years in the U. S. armed forces. The time spent under this conditional legal residency would count toward the five-year minimum residency required to become a United States citizen.
The law would also repeal a 1996 federal law that prohibits states from offering in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens unless it offers the same rates to all U. S. citizens. Bill Clinton signed the 1996 law. The DREAM Act's repeal of the 1996 law would be retroactive letting 10 states off the hook that have violated the federal law.
DREAM Act amnesty recipients would be eligible for federal student loans and federal work-study programs.
Under the act's provisions, once an illegal alien makes an amnesty application, the government can't deport him. If his application is not successful, the government can't use information that he provided on the application to deport him.
There is nothing in the DREAM Act to improve border security to stem the tide of illegals coming in.
Although Harry Reid tried to put the cloture vote on fast forward if an effort to get it through the Senate before amnesty opponents could rally their troops, it didn't work. Organizations that oppose amnesty were able to send out e-mails in advance of their vote and I'm sure a lot of Senators heard from their constituents on the issue. The vote didn't go along party lines, either, as 11 Republicans voted for cloture. This means that some of the 44 no votes came from Democrats.
One of the groups sending out e-mails was the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. This organization has sent volunteers to the United States-Mexican border to look for and report to law enforcement evidence of immigration law violations. Its rules prohibit volunteers from speaking to, approaching, gesturing towards or having physical contact in any way with people the spot sneaking across our border. The exception is if a group or an individual, in need of assistance, approaches a volunteer. In this case they are to offer humanitarian assistance, and tell them that immigration authorities have been contacted.
Minuteman volunteers are instructed to find hilltops to spot from and to use binoculars and spotting scopes, calling the Border Patrol if they see something. They are told to stay away from any group in Border Patrol custody unless an agent asks for help.
They've also made serious efforts efforts to educate the public on why the large volume of illegal immigrants entering the country is harmful. These education efforts may be why amnesty bills like the DREAM Act don't make much progress when the public learns that a vote is about to take place.
Opposition to illegal immigration is not a nativist reaction to immigration. Most of us welcome legal
immigrants. We simply see the need to make sure that we control our borders.