Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Dream Act: Unsafe for Children

In lawmaking, the words matter.  And, one of the biggest ills in making laws are the “unintended consequences” of the choice of words in a bill.  This is one big reason why the issue of interpretation by the courts of vague or sloppy language must be considered when creating law.  Add to this the intentional maneuvering to find loopholes in laws by various interest groups, and it is easy to see why writing a bill is not easy business.

Many, for instance, have presented the Dream Act as some sort of act of kindness or as a way to build our military.   In fact, the language of this bill has a glaring hole in it that could be seen by anyone who bothered to read it.  I have to assume that the folks who talk about amnesty for illegal alien children have not read the bill or are not being intellectually honest when they speak of it.

The bill has a section that specifically allows the offspring of illegal aliens to opt out of the military and education requirements for citizenship.  And, if you actually read it, you would see that the opt out requires little more than a letter stating that fulfilling the requirements of the law would present a “hardship.”  Because the bill offers no definition of what is means by “hardship,” it is virtually impossible for a court to later have clear direction in determining what constitutes a life situation that prevents the young person from properly meeting the requirements of the law.  Additionally, it could be determined on a subjective case-by-case (read: politically motivated) basis by the government agency employee who receives the letter of excuse.

In application, though, this becomes a much bigger problem than simple confusion in terms of interpretation.  In application, this one section creates a powerful psychological motivation for foreign entities to rush into our country illegally with their children.  In effect, either intentionally or unintentionally, the Dream Act’s provisions encourage illegal crossings with children in tow.

If you were a parent living in another country and wanted to earn money to feed your family back home, you might take the risk and cross the border alone, at your own peril, for that chance.  But, compliments of the new Dream Act, you see the golden ring hanging much lower that would allow you to not only earn money for your family, but the promise that your children will gain citizenship if you bring them along on the dangerous trek.  The U.S. government is making that promise in this new law.  The Dream Act promises you that you can just write a letter with some random excuse of “hardship” to prevent your child from serving in the military or having to find a way to pay their tuition in college.

I’m a parent.  I get the powerful desire to want the very best for my child.  If you’re a parent, you have to be honest.  You’d take huge risks to assure a better life for your son or daughter, too.

Aside from the clear arguments we all can make against once again trying out amnesty to see if it will fail again, we must realize that the Dream Act takes this to a whole new level.  It ENCOURAGES parents to illegally drag their children from their homeland, across dangerous crossings, living illegally as second-class humans in hiding.  It isn’t good for our country, but it is even worse for the safety and well being of young people who will be brought in much greater numbers due to the enticement created by this misguided legislation.

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