Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dreams and Nightmares

Tucson, Arizona. Years ago, Congress considered passing the DREAM Act, a bill designed to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who obtain a college education. One of the more significant components of the bill is its repeal of the part of the "Immigration Responsibility" bill in 1996 that prohibits public universities from providing in-state tuition to immigrants without their papers.

Strictly set in terms of the pursuit of higher education, the bill, well, the reader’s heard what happens to snow balls in hell.

Times have changed. Remember all of those contractors in Iraq? Remember that our military is stretched to the breaking point and having horrible recruiting problems? Oh, we also have that issue about daily fatalities and injuries.

Didn’t that DREAM legislation include military service? The military service component provides a far more politically palatable path where young men without their papers can sign up, serve this country nobly and with dignity, prove their worthiness as soldiers, and earn the right to citizenship.

From the Arizona Republic’s article a few days ago:

The DREAM Act has broad bipartisan support in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, is a co-sponsor of the bill in the House. He said the legislation has a better chance now that the military aspect is being played up.

Who could be against this? Remember those Numbers USA people I mentioned quite some time ago? They’re seething and bringing up the scarlet letter, "A - Amnesty."

"The DREAM Act would address a very serious recruitment crisis that faces our military," said Sen. Dick Durbin, the bill's author. If Durbin is successful in attaching the DREAM Act to the defense-authorization bill, the proposal is almost assured of passing.

On the right, we have the numbers people and their ilk. On the left, we also have some mightily upset people who suggest the bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Those without the resources to attend college living in poverty may find the instant cash, training, terrific food, and a path to citizenship via the military impossible to resist. According to that link, the two years of service is a lie, and that the minimum enlistment is eight years.

We have the right calling it Amnesty and the left calling it essentially a poverty fueled draft for the military.

How many will actually attend college as a result of the bill? Hispanic high school graduation rates are below 50 percent. How many will actually join the military? Is this really an economic draft? The answers make a difference. What cannot be disputed are barriers before each path. It doesn't cost anything to join the military.

My question: IF they do join the armed forces, serve a year, and get badly injured. Are they citizens? Are they veterans, or are they flat out SOL with no legs to boot?


Anonymous the doctor said...

My head hurts.

I think this will pass. No one is going to listen to the left argument about the army eating the poor.

We haven't cared about poverty since Bush was elected. The noise from the right that defeated the immigration bill this summer won't have the same strength against DREAM.

I think it will pass.

9/20/2007 12:44 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

The Doctor is correct - the bill will pass.

Any US veteran is eligible for care at VA hospitals, regardless of their citizenship status. Theoretically.

9/20/2007 1:00 PM  
Anonymous dustin said...

Enlistments, while carrying an 8 year service obligation, are not enlistments for all 8 years. It is usually a mix and match affair, with a 4-6 year active duty obligation followed by a stint in the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve). IRR call-ups are rare, But I'm not sure how this will work with current strength. I've heard some pretty bad stories about stop loss and the like.

I did not serve with very many foreign nationals myself (submarine service requires a clearance) but in other parts of the navy there were quite a few. I'm not positive, but I think that military service already provides a path to citizenship. This seems like it would open the flood gates, but then again maybe not. I think alot of people trying to immigrate are as unfond of warzones as anyone else. I guess we'll have to see.

9/20/2007 3:59 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

I favor the legislation. As for amnesty, yea, right, and I have always believed that individuals living in the state, paying rent, sales tax, etc., should have in-state tuition, especially at the community colleges, where it will be most relevant.

Even in state tuition at UA eliminates almost all of this population financially.

Regarding the military component, I appreciate the "draft the poor" argument, but only to a point. A critical ethical issue is the equality of treatment and opportunity for those who join.

To render them lower status than other recruits would be unconscionable.

I too believe it will pass. Bush won't be able to sign the thing fast enough.

9/20/2007 4:32 PM  

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