Reid's DREAM Rider
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has hit a new low by slipping an amnesty plan for illegal immigrants into a defense funding bill. In effect, he's holding U.S. troops hostage to advance his own political career.
Longtime members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are shuddering at the way the defense budget has become a Christmas tree for political ornaments. Since last year, Democrats have used appropriations for U.S. troops in Afghanistan to attach riders that couldn't otherwise pass muster.
Now Reid has hung the ugliest ornament of them all — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act — and has scheduled a vote on it next week.
"This is an all-time low for me being in the Senate, and that's saying something," committee member Lindsay Graham told Foreign Policy magazine. "The one area that's been kept off limits from partisan politics has been the defense of our nation. To say that you're going to bring up a defense bill and put the DREAM Act on it ... to me is very offensive."
But Reid, D-Nev., apparently couldn't care less. He sees a political payoff — for himself — by offering amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants via the DREAM Act in a bid to energize the Latino vote.
As representative of the state with the highest number of illegal immigrants (as well as the highest unemployment rate at 14.2%), Reid is hoping he can break away from Republican challenger Sharron Angle in his own dead-heat reelection race by delivering amnesty to that constituency.
He's also betting that Republicans will be forced to go along because of their strong support of the military. Reid has also slipped in a second rider, this one for ending the Pentagon's "don't ask-don't tell" policy on gay servicemen without waiting for the military's input.
Both riders stand to wreak havoc in the U.S. if this bill passes. The act is outright amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants, and offers a no-penalty path to citizenship for anyone connected with them.
It says that any child of an illegal who arrives in the U.S. before age 16, spends five years here and completes two years of college or military service in a six-year span without felonies gets a green card ahead of others who have waited patiently for their papers.
They will have access to taxpayer-funded loans and grants, and may crowd out children of U.S. citizens at state and community colleges. They are not required to pay back the loans, learn English or maintain a decent GPA. They can start the process up to age 35, and get six years to finish a mere two years of college or military service.
And once they've been granted citizenship, they can bring all their relatives to the U.S. in what will be the mother of chain migrations.
Even worse, there's no cutoff date on when an illegal immigrant can begin the process, so the bill becomes a dinner triangle to would-be immigrants everywhere to ship their teenagers to the states before they turn 16. Mexican cartels that smuggle illegals for $10,000 a pop must be slavering at the possible new business.
Thanks to an effective propaganda campaign based on sob stories from immigrant lobbies, most of these facts about the DREAM Act aren't well-known. But make no mistake: The legislation as written amounts to amnesty for almost everyone.
This may be why, despite the measure being around the Senate for seven years, it has never garnered enough votes for passage. It has come close, but public opposition has stopped it when the facts are made known. That should be the result when Reid selfishly tries to get away with it again next week.