The ignorance displayed in the recent quarrel about the DREAM Act that has occupied this space has me concerned. Select students tackled a piece of legislation they seemingly know almost nothing about. While I do appreciate political discussion from all viewpoints, it is important that political discussions be based on fact. Without further ado, here are the facts:
The federal DREAM Act was concocted not as a solution to America’s immigration woes as a whole, but as an answer to a narrow issue. Legal or not, America has found itself investing in education for undocumented immigrants without anything to show for it. We can indulge in as many normative statements regarding immigration as we wish, however, our troubles will not simply go away. The DREAM Act seeks to give top illegal students a path, though tough, to legality.
The bill only applies to illegal graduates of U.S. high schools who’ve lived in America for five years prior to application for eligibility. DREAMers must exhibit strong moral character and must either gain entry to a four-year college or join the armed forces. The current bill does not allow access to Pell Grants or other federal financial aid services and leaves application of in-state tuition rates up to the states. It also bars DREAMers from benefits of “Obamacare,” Medicaid, food stamps and other welfare programs. Application for the DREAM Act does not act as amnesty and any insufficient candidates can be deported as a result of application. Furthermore, completion of the program only ensures revocable permanent residency, not citizenship, which has further requirements. By some estimates, only 7,000 to 13,000 students would currently be able to complete the entire DREAM Act and citizenship program.
Finally, some suggest the bill would quickly apply to “millions” of illegal immigrants. In reality, a UCLA study projected that the bill would apply to only about 825,000 to 2.1 million people during a 40 year period.
The DREAM Act would increase America’s skilled labor force and its tax base. The Congressional Budget Office predicted that the bill could produce $2.3 billion in additional tax revenues during a 10 year period, while reducing deficits by approximately $1.4 billion. Additionally, the aforementioned UCLA study projected an increase in taxable income from $1.6 to $3.6 trillion during a 10 year period.
So, there are the facts. Enjoy.
Temple College Democrats