Republicans Contemplating Scaled-Down DREAM Act—But Why?

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 16 2012 8:28 AM

Republicans Contemplating Scaled-Down DREAM Act—But Why?

Matt Lewis at the Daily Caller reports on a draft version of something its proponents are calling the ACHIEVE Act, a bill designed to broadly speaking do the same thing as the DREAM Act but be less generous. The bill would allow ACHIEVE-eligible undocumented people to get a W-1 visa to attend college or serve in the military, with some possibility of citizenship following after application for a new visa after that.

Elise Foley breaks down some of the differences:

The bill being floated would apply to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 14 as long as they are under the age of 28, if they have no college degree. If they are college-educated, the age limit is 32, according to the Daily Caller. The Dream Act, by contrast, would allow immigrants to apply so long as they came before the age of 16 and are currently under the age of 30.

Both plans require an immigrant to show good moral character, maintain a felony-free criminal record, and live in the U.S. for five consecutive years before the bill's enactment -- assuring foreign nationals will not enter the country now simply to apply.

It's a bit difficult to understand the logic of this legislation as anything other than arbitrary salami-slicing. If you oppose the policy objectives of the DREAM Act, there's nothing about ACHIEVE's slightly stingier mentality that really addresses those concerns. And if you support the policy objectives of the DREAM Act, then this kind of mini-DREAM is just worse. There's obviously some political strategizing happening here, but I can't quite parse how it works.

The bottom line in either case is that we're talking about people who've grown up in the United States, have graduated from high school, and are either prepared to obtain higher education or to serve in the American military. In a sensible world we would recognize that one of America's great strengths as a society is precisely that lots of people like that want to live and work in the United States and pay taxes and become citizens.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.