When I first heard about the DREAM Act it seemed reasonable to me. When I saw it called Backdoor Amnesty I was not really surprised, but I thought that I should look into it more closely. That meant going to see the actual text of the bill. The last time I talked about immigration I said that we needed to decide what we believe on the issue before we run around legislating a position. My own position, the more I consider it, would have us be much more open for immigration than we are now (on the books).
As I look at the text of this bill I believe that it is fundamentally sound. The purpose is to allow a path to citizenship for those who came to the US as children (under 16) and who have lived lives in the U.S. that are worthy of citizens (no run-ins with the law, no orders for deportation, completing their educations) and contributed or prepared to make positive contributions to our country (complete degrees at institutions of higher education without federal grants or served two years in the armed services without an other than honorable discharge). Not only that but they must have lived as residents for at least 5 years – no hopping back and forth across the border (limitations against 90 days at one time or an aggregate of 180 days outside the US in the last five years).
The one potential problem that we should guard against is having this used as a back door for children to get legal status and then use that as a lever to gain legal status for their parents. This law should only be applied to those who came as minors and have since completed their secondary education and followed the path to continued contribution to this country. Those who have done so should not be held liable for being brought here illegally. They should not have any special opportunity to help parents (who are accountable for coming here illegally) gain priority access to legal residence. Those parents should be required to seek legal status through existing means. Children who have not yet completed their secondary education should be returning to their country of origin with their parents and if they choose to return to America legally we should welcome them.