The Corner

Seeing Harry Reid in a DREAM

Radio Derb on the DREAM Act. We no like.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has slipped the DREAM Act as an amendment into a big defense appropriations bill the chamber’s about to vote on.

The “DREAM” in “DREAM Act” is an acronym, D-R-E-A-M, standing for “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors” Act. The deal is supposed to be that if you are an illegal alien in the country more than five years, were under the age of 16 when you arrived, are less than 35 years old at the bill’s enactment, and have graduated high school in the U.S.A., you get amnesty. The idea is that kids brought here by illegal alien parents and put in our schools to get an education funded by American taxpayers, should also get permanent residence rights.

You have to give some verbal assurances that you intend to go to college or join the military, but you don’t actually have to follow through on those assurances, you just have to say them. Oh, and if you do go to college, you can pay in-state tuition rates, unlike out-of-state American citizens. Citizens? Who cares about them?

Note that once you’ve got your amnesty and your green card, you can then easily get green cards for your parents. You can also start applying for your foreign brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandpa’s ex-wife’s second cousin’s step-daughter, et cetera, to be admitted under the “family unification” rules.

Even setting aside all that, though, the DREAM Act faces a huge problem common to all so-called “immigration reform” measures: administrative overload.

If you have any interaction with the immigration authorities, the first thing you see is that they can’t possibly cope with their current workload. Mark Krikorian’s splendid book The New Case Against Immigration has many blood-curdling examples of this impossible level of administrative work. In one case, a backlog of ninety thousand documents that needed processing was eliminated by shredding the documents. Mark also describes the technique of “lane flushing” at the Ambassador Bridge where Canada meets Detroit. That is, when the lane of vehicles waiting to have their immigration documents scrutinized gets too long, border officials just wave a few hundred through without any checks. Problem solved!

These kinds of things are routine in the system as it now is. And Harry Reid wants to add this new huge burden to the work of our immigration bureaucrats? They’re going to have to, for example, check that the Guatemalan birth certificate someone just presented is valid. How are they going to do that in a timely fashion, with 200 people on line behind the Guatemalan guy? How are they going to do it at all?

What in fact will happen will go like this:

Immigration Officer:  Did you arrive more than five years ago?

Applicant:  Yes. See, here’s a Dunkin’ Donuts receipt from 2003 — that was my first meal in the U.S.A.!

Immigration Officer:  And were you less than 16 at the time?

Applicant:  Yes. Here’s my birth certificate. You can read Laotian script, I hope?

Immigration Officer:  And you were under 35 in September 2010?

Applicant:  Sure. Do the arithmetic.

Immigration Officer:  And you intend to go to college, or join the military?

Applicant:  Certainly. Soon as I get my papers, straight to the recruiting office!

Immigration Officer:  Okey-dokey. Take this to Window Twelve, then you’ll be all set.

What Harry Reid actually wants, of course, is to boost up his Hispanic support in the tight race he’s in with Tea Party insurgent Sharron Angle. Compared with that, what does a little thing like the integrity of American citizenship matter?

Most Popular

National Security & Defense

A New World Disorder

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (But not Allegra Budenmayer, may she rot in Hell), Some of you may recall that my favorite essay by the late Tom Wolfe is “The Great ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bad Judgment from Scott and Rubio

Tim Scott and Marco Rubio, two estimable conservative senators, have treated an appeals-court nominee unjustly. Having raised no concerns earlier in the process and having voted to proceed to a final vote on the nomination of Ryan Bounds to the Ninth Circuit, Senator Scott (R., S.C.) announced that he could ... Read More