While Sen. Harry Reid regroups for another shot at passing the DREAM Act next week, it’s worth reviewing the details of this little-analyzed law. The MSM inevitably presents the law as a way for successful young illegal aliens who are living the American dream by pursuing a college degree to fully join the mainstream. In fact, the DREAM Act is written to maximize the number of illegal aliens who are shielded from immigration enforcement, period. Its educational and character trappings are so minimal as to be pretextual.
Every illegal alien who applies for what is known as “conditional legal status” is immunized from any fear of deportation for ten years. The threshold for qualifying for conditional legal status is extraordinarily lax. An illegal alien can have a criminal record and still qualify, as long as the time served for an aggregate of three non-felony offenses is under 90 days. (The current version of the bill, S. 3992, is a masterpiece of legalistic obfuscation on this count.) In Los Angeles (and undoubtedly elsewhere), jail overcrowding (significantly due to illegal-alien criminals) is such that prosecutors and courts routinely plea-bargain felonies down to misdemeanors and sentence property crimes and even some violent offenses to time served in jail while awaiting a plea bargain. Thus, one can have quite a history of offenses without crossing the DREAM Act threshold for criminal ineligibility. Drunk drivers and drug dealers could also qualify for conditional legal status, so long as they have routinely pled down.
The education requirements in a bill purportedly about rewarding educational achievement are also ridiculously minimal. High school drop-outs qualify for conditional legal status, so long as they have obtained a no-brainer GED at some point.
Once granted conditional legal status, an alien is shielded from any enforcement proceedings for ten years, gaining the right to drive, work, and travel internationally, as if he had entered the country legally.
The DREAM Act is not about creating an incentive for, or rewarding, high educational achievement. It is about trying to extend an amnesty to as many illegal aliens as possible, who will then have the ability to legalize their family members.