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

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 8:51 AM The Male-Dominated Culture of Business in Tech Is Not Great for Women
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 9:00 AM Exclusive Premiere: Key & Peele Imagines the Dark Side of the Make-A-Wish Program
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  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.