The American Dream Act: Deport Illegal Students

Blonde female following graduation

(Mindy Gautreaux/USFWS)

In the dead of night on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act providing amnesty to up to 2.1 million illegal immigrants. According to its proponents, the measure will provide a path to citizenship for the “best and brightest” illegal immigrants, those pursuing higher education or military service, who are more likely to be gainfully employed and less likely to be imprisoned than other illegal aliens. If this is true, it seems to this author that the appropriate response is clear: we should not provide them amnesty but deport them to the last man. The cost of implementing the bill will pale in comparison to the cost of keeping the “best” illegal immigrants in our country.

The DREAM Act would grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who claim they came to the United States before age 16 and have taken two years of college or joined the uniformed services. Even in the highly Democratic lame duck session of Congress, it passed only by a vote of 216-198. Eight Republicans – all but two voted out of office by their constituents – joined the most of the Democrats; one was Mike Castle, who lost his Senate primary fight against Christine O’Donnell.

Despite its proponents’ protests, the bill is not restricted to “kids,” nor to the highest achievers. Illegal aliens up to age 30 are eligible to apply under the latest House version, and older yet in other iterations. The bill requires two years of college, but not that the applicant earn any degree.

To show how cynical its advocates are, while pretending their goal is to attract the most educated illegals, they are considering attaching the DREAM Act to the AgJobs bill, which would provide a “path to citizenship” for agricultural workers, perhaps the least educated of all illegal aliens.

In fact, the bill does not even require a clean criminal record. The DREAM Act allows those with up to two misdemeanor convictions – including such infractions as assault, sexual abuse, or fraud – to become full citizens. Coincidentally, illegal aliens guilty of voter fraud are also granted citizenship.

Under the original version of the bill, illegal immigrants were granted in-state tuition rates, a provision likely to be restored at a later date. The Center for Immigration Studies found this alone would cost taxpayers $6.2 billion a year. CIS estimated a total of 1.038 million alien students would enroll in college, allowing each student to pay an average of $5,970 less tuition per year.

Despite these enormous flaws, Democratic lawmakers exalted the would-be amnesty recipients to legendary heights.

Colorado Democratic Congressman Jared Polis gushed, “The young people covered under this bill are the children any parent would be proud of – our sons and daughters, our neighbors, our classmates, prom kings and queens, football players and cheerleaders, who stayed in school, played by the rules, graduates, worked hard, stayed out of trouble.” He saluted “their pluck, ingenuity, ambition, drive, and creativity.” He concluded, “These DREAMers embody the very best among our American values.” (See video below.)

The enthusiasm is not confined to Democrats. On Tuesday, former Bush-43 speechwriter Michael Gerson wrote in The Washington Post, “It would be difficult to define a more sympathetic group of potential Americans.”

When I hear such nonsense, I wonder if I woke up on the same planet as our political leadership.

However much sympathy I may have for “potential Americans,” I am infinitely more interested in actual Americans – 10 percent of whom are out of work, 421,000 more this week than last. Fully 13 percent of Americans are on food stamps – and many more are eligible. In this environment, less Americans are able to afford college tuition rates, in-state or otherwise, and fewer of those who do are likely to find a job. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, businesses are making 15 percent fewer job offers to today’s college graduates than they did in 2008. The average salary for new grads has slipped 1.7 percent since last year.

Improving the lot of our fellow citizens should be our first priority. To that end, I offer my own invention: The American Dream Act.

Its chief proposal is simple: After violent criminals, the illegal immigrants covered by the DREAM Act are the first group of people we should deport.

True, not all “DREAMers” are the best and brightest, but some may well be. They will compete with American citizens for openings in American universities and later, for jobs. Due to the ethnic status of most illegals, they will enjoy preferred recruitment status at most colleges under Affirmative Action policies. They will likely be granted in-state tuition, but even under the House version they are eligible for loans and other forms of financial assistance – a finite pie depleted by their participation. Every precious education dollar they receive is a dollar denied an American. Should they graduate, they will be competing against native American degree-holders (I don’t mean Indians) for jobs. Once again, because of their Affirmative Action status, they will be chosen before equally well-educated native born Americans. Far from taking “jobs Americans won’t do,” they will edge out our fellow countrymen for the most competitive and lucrative positions available.

Those illegal aliens eligible for the DREAM Act will enjoy a subsidy for their education, preferred college placement, and Affirmative Action hiring bonuses. Since nearly all are bilingual, they possess highly sought-after skills, since employers want to do business with the throngs of their fellow aliens successive administrations have refused to deport. They will be fast tracked to the American dream, while Americans continue to fall behind.

They are, in other words, the greatest threat to displace young American workers struggling in the worst job market since the Great Depression.

A clear-headed Congressman whose allegiance was to his fellow Americans first would know the one move that would be in his country’s best interest: deportation. America does not need a glut of people educated by lawbreakers edging its sons and daughters out of colleges and employment opportunities. The fewer competitors, the better for Americans. And the fewer incentives to break our immigration laws, the less we will have to needlessly extend suicidally generous special benefits to those who have no right to any benefits whatsoever.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-IL, has called the DREAM Act “a down payment on the immigration reform voters want.”  Deporting those eligible for its terms would come closer to that goal. The majority of Americans support Arizona’s immigration law, and 68 percent of Americans support building a border fence.

Deporting those most likely to take a young citizen’s job should be the first move to full deportation of illegal aliens, because of the threat they pose to American citizens if legalized. They are the youngest, most Americanized, most able to blend into American society. They are looked to as the future economic providers for the other illegals in their homes. Deporting them will cut off the best source of economic support illegals currently have. Since their relatives would someday become eligible for “chain migration” under our family reunification laws, deporting these young people would demonstrate that their children will not be anchors for their future citizenship. Since the illegal immigrants covered by this bill are specifically the best educated, most upwardly mobile, and best behaved of all the 10-15 million illegal immigrants in the United States today, they will be an economic boon to Mexico, reversing the brain drain of immigrants heading norte. Deporting them would similarly drive home how seriously we take our borders. The two-pronged focus on violent illegals and upwardly mobile, well-behaved illegals may encourage the rest of the illegals to voluntarily self-deport.

The most important benefit it will render is the aid given to struggling American citizens, who will not have to face one another and illegals at job interviews. It will remove another source of welfare spending – and not merely for in-state tuition or grants. In fact, a growing number of colleges are showing students how to apply for food stamps. Draining the swamp will allow more of these dollars to go to Americans, and the improved economic outlook may help assure fewer Americans overall need become dependent on government for their sustenance.

I realize my proposed bill may not be enacted in its purest form. As the president has shown us this week, politics requires compromise. Since Democrats will still control the Senate until (at least) 2012, they may modify my proposal to add spending I oppose as a precondition for passing it. If Democrats insist on spending the $6.2 billion we will have saved by axing the DREAM Act, forthwith is a compromise proposal: Why not create 1.038 “American Dream Opportunity Scholarships” offering in-state tuition rates to high-performing students from low-income families in other states? We could offer a higher scholarship to those who pledge to serve in the Border Patrol for at least three years after graduation.Their service will go further to sure up our economic well-being by denying additional job competitors from entering our borders.

If only there were one Congressman dedicated to his country’s well-being that would make this proposal a legislative reality. Then again, I hope to be surprised. The fact that Congress is seriously debating doing the reverse tells me a great deal about their commitment to those they claim to represent.

Ben Johnson is U.S. Bureau Chief of, the guest host of Nothing But Truth with Crane Durhamon AFR Talk Radio, and the author of three books. His personal website is Connect with him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Cross-posted at the Impeach Obama Campaign.

Photo at the top of post. which has been cropped and resized, has been reproduced under a Creative Commons license.