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Myth vs. Fact: The DREAM Act

Myth vs. Fact: The DREAM Act

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Marshall Fitz runs through common arguments against the DREAM Act and shows how they come up short.
Marshall Fitz runs through common arguments against the DREAM Act and shows how they come up short.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Dec 16, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1Center for American Progress | Myth vs. Fact: The DREAM Act
Myth vs. Fact: The DREAM Act
No More Excuses on This Bill
Marshall Fitz December 2010
Tis piece was updated to refect passage o a revised bill in the House o Representativeson December 8, 2010.
Te argumens musered in opposiion o he Developmen, Relie and Educaionor Alien Minors Ac, orDREAM Ac , have never been paricularly persuasive. I’shard o make a sraigh-aced argumen agains providing kids who lack immigra-ion saus hrough no aul o heir own an opporuniy o go o college or servehe counry hrough miliary service.Ta’s why dozens o House members spoke in avor o he bill, which passed  when i came o he oor on December 8. Only a ew hardliners sood o opposei. Te exreme broadsides levied by hose House conservaives have been echoed by senaors seeking o block consideraion o he bill. More han anyhing, hesedecepive argumens clearly expose he moral callousness o he opponens.I’s imporan o expose he awsand blaan misrepresenaionsin DREAM Acopponens’ mos common argumens agains he bill. I should be clear ha heSenae has no good reason no o pass i.
Myth: America can’t afford the DREAM Act.
Fact: America can’t afford not to pass the DREAM Act.
One o he mos baseless excusesor opposing he bill is scal. Opponens o he bill have ried o hrow a series o sensaional anduterly unsupporedcos guresino he debae, hoping somehing will sick. Bu he nonparisan CongressionalBudge Oce, or CBO, did he analysis and concluded ha he DREAM Ac wouldreduce he deci by $2.2 billionover he nex 10 years.
2Center for American Progress | Myth vs. Fact: The DREAM Act
DREAM-eligible youhs would no be eligible or healh care subsidies, includingMedicaid, or oher ederal means-esed benes like ood samps or Pell grans.More imporanly, he alernaive o removing he 700,000 eligible kids wouldcos axpayers$16.2 billion over ve years.Te ar sronger argumen is: “America can’ aord no o pass he DREAM Ac.”
Myth: The DREAM Act would reward illegal behavior.
Fact: This isn’t amnesty. Eligible youth who had no say in the decision tocome to the United States would have to work hard to earn permanentresidence, and the earliest they could gain citizenship would be 13 years.
Opponens grasp or he moral high ground wih hiseeble conenion. Te dubi-ous claim ha providing a pah o legal saus somehow violaes our commimeno he rule o law is sandard are or opponens o immigraion reorm. Bu hisired “ani-amnesy” argumen lacks all resonance when applied o his populaion.Tese kids were brough o he Unied Saes beore hey had a say in heir liecircumsances. Denying hem hope and opporuniy is punishmen or an ac beyond heir conrol. Enabling hem o work hard and earn he privilege o cii-zenship is hardly “rewarding” illegal behavior.Moreover, he hypocrisy o some o he eleced ocials who would condemnhese kids o marginalizaion is shameul. Sen. David Viter (R-LA), who hasconessed omoral waywardness , complains wih a sraigh ace ha hese kids aresubvering he rule o law.
Myth: Passing the DREAM Act would encourage more illegalimmigration.
Fact: The bill has strict requirements that make only a discrete one-timeuniverse of individuals eligible for relief.
 When immigraion reorm o any sor is under consideraion he“magne” excuse reurns o vogue like clockwork. o be sure, his bill is no a soluion o heproblem o illegal immigraion. Bu neiher is i a magne or more undocumened
3Center for American Progress | Myth vs. Fact: The DREAM Act
migraion. And according o hesecreary o homeland securiy he DREAM Ac will enable DHS o beter ocus is resources on criminals and securiy hreas.o be eligible or relie under heDREAM Acan individual mus have comeo he Unied Saes beore hey were 16 years old, and hey mus have been inhe Unied Saes or more han ve years on he dae o enacmen. In addiion,hey mus be under 30 years old on he dae o enacmen and hey mus proveha hey have possessed good moral characer rom he ime hey arrived in heUnied Saes. Tose ypes o sric requiremens—paricularly he mandaory number o years in he Unied Saes—ensure here will be no surge o undocu-mened immigrans a he border.
Myth: The DREAM Act would trigger large-scale “chain migration.”
Fact: It would be at least 10 years before a DREAM Act beneficiary couldsponsor their spouse or child for permanent residence and at least 13 yearsbefore they could sponsor their parents or siblings.
 Anoher claim rolled ou wih monoonous regulariy is he“chain migraion”excuse. Opponens alsely sugges ha he naions immigraion sysem auhorizessponsorship o exended amily, conjuring up hordes o grea-auns, sep-uncles,and hird cousins immigraing o he Unied Saes once he DREAM Ac bene-ciary gains legal saus.Te realiy is ha our immigraion laws only permi sponsorship o immediaerelaives. And he soones hese youhs would be able o sponsor heir spouses orminor children o come o he Unied Saes would be 10 years afer enacmen.Tey could no sponsor heir parens or siblings unil afer hey became U.S. cii-zens, which is aminimum o 13 yearsafer gaining legal saus. Moreover, i heirparens or siblings were in he Unied Saes unlawully hey would be required oleave he Unied Saes or 10 years beore becoming eligible or sponsorship. A 23-year waio bring your parens o he Unied Saes doesn’ square wih hechain migraion menace promoed by opponens.

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