Just as Congress will probably vote on the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill, the editorial board of one of the nation’s foremost conservative news publications has put forth an op-ed endorsing the measure.
In doing so, it is ultimately taking a shot at hard line, anti-illegal immigrant Republicans who have been opposing recent efforts in full force, further revealing the internal rift within the Republican Party.
“Reactionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards the people who entered the country illegally. But the bill targets individuals brought here by their parents as children. What is to be gained by holding otherwise law abiding young people, who had no say in coming to this country, responsible for the illegal actions of others? The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded,” the editorial stated in the meat of their argument.
Ultimately dismissing the commonly-held conservative premise that the Dream Act rewards law breakers, WSJ proceeded with their endorsement by proposing an immigration reform suggestion of their own, which might be something that Congress down the line might just consider; that is, if a GOP-dominated Congress has the gall to take on a seemingly more conservative Republican base that made a strong showing against the current Democratic majority that supports the Dream Act.
WSJ also proposed that immigration reform should extend to the work visa realm for the very parents of those children. Strict security on the U.S. Mexico border has worked to some extent, they say, but has also helped illegal border activity stay alive. This in and of itself is an argument put forth by many libertarians (again, a surprising ideology put forth by the conservative leaning publication like WSJ).
“We’d prefer that border reform start by expanding legal channels of entry for people who come here to work. There would be little need for a Dream Act if more U.S. work visas had been available for the parents of those children. The U.S. focus on border security has, along with the economic downturn, had some effect on reducing illegal entries. But walls, fences and employer crackdowns mainly produce thriving markets in human smuggling and document fraud and make a mockery of the rule of law, especially in some border laws” the editorial stated.
While the argument was made that Republicans would benefit from backing an immigration reform bill, that very notion seems to be an inaccurate assessment of a solution to Republican woes with the pro-immigration reform supporters. If Republicans were to support an immigration bill such as the Dream Act when it comes up for a vote, not only would they suffer a blow from the base that got them into office, they would also likely gain little of the Hispanic vote. An immigration reform bill passed under the Pelosi-Reid alliance and signed under Obama would be seen as a victory under the Democratic Party’s leadership.
However, that doesn’t exclude Republicans from proposing a solution to the nation’s immigration woes. Back when President Bush proposed his plan, it died in the senate by 14 votes due to Republican opposition and to Democratic opposition in Republican strongholds. If the Republicans want to be taken seriously on immigration reform and would like not to be seen as the cause of gridlock in DC, especially by Independents, then they must start from scratch to show their plan is better than the Dream Act. If they are seen as killing immigration reform under both Presidents Bush and Obama, then the anti-immigration stigma is here to stay.