The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Students debate immigration policy

Republican

During the lame duck session following the Republican wave that swept through congress in 2010, the Democrats tried to use the last few moments of their huge majority to shove through something called the DREAM Act, which would have granted citizenship to children of illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military. In principle, it isn’t a bad idea. These children were brought over here illegally through no fault of their own, and it is against conservative ideals and American ideals to punish the child for the sins of the parents. Now, these kids are in legal limbo, and something has to be done to rectify this issue.

But the Democrat’s DREAM Act doesn’t work as intended. As Senator Marco Rubio pointed out when he unveiled his own version of the Act (which would work much better, although it still isn’t perfect), the Democrat’s DREAM incentivizes more illegal immigration, through allowing the child to use their citizen status to bring relatives in legally, which could be millions more immigrants, which our country would be unable to deal with economically.

Rubio’s plan, which he thinks is something that could get the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate, helps solve this problem. By offering legal status to the children of illegal immigrants, but not full citizenship, it fixes the issue of the chain immigration that the Democrat’s proposal would cause. Democrats will say that this makes these children second-class citizens, but as Rubio points out, being in legal limbo as they are means they are already second-class citizens. The position that Rubio’s DREAM puts them in at least allows them to live here without fear of deportation, functioning as productive members of society. Neither of these plans address the larger issue of illegal immigration however, and at least Rubio acknowledges that. The DREAM Act would take care of one small part of the issue, but the major problems would still be there. The hardline conservative position isn’t feasible. Mass deportation would be expensive and difficult to implement, how would you find and keep track of those who are by definition undocumented?

As was mentioned in one of the GOP debates last fall, building a border fence would just create a larger market for ladders and shovels. The left wing position of blanket amnesty won’t stop the problem either, while ballooning the cost to the federal government. The entire process needs reformation. It should be made easier to enter the country legally so that illegal action is no longer a desirable one.

Further, those who are already here illegally should be sent to the back of the line for citizenship, those who went through the process legally shouldn’t be given a lower priority than those who didn’t. Finally, employers who take advantage of illegal immigrants should be punished, so enforcement of E-Verify must be a top priority.

Children shouldn’t be punished for the crimes of their parents, and certainly not if they want to serve the country in the military or attend college. Rubio’s plan works much better than the Democratic plan in solving this issue, primarily because it doesn’t create the chain of immigration that will expand the problem instead of beginning to fix it. The major issue of immigration reform is difficult, but this shouldn’t be. We can help these kids, if only political posturing doesn’t get in the way.

Tucker is a sophomore majoring in political science, economics and public policy.

Democrat

Of all the legislation that has failed to pass in the do nothing Congress of this day and age, the Dream Act is probably the most famous. The Dream Act deals with immigration. It offers a path to citizenship for youth who were brought to the United States as long as they served in the military or attended college.

Marc Rubio, a senator from Florida, recently offered a counter-proposal. His proposal would allow for undocumented youth to remain in the United States, but would not grant them citizenship.

Rubio’s proposal is flawed because it would create a population segment consisting of second-class citizens. What good does this achieve in the long run? While the quasi citizen-like status would alleviate the fear of deportation, it would still subjugate undocumented youth. It does not do any good to allow people residing in the United States to stay if they are not granted equal rights.

While this counter-proposal softens the Republican edge for Latinos, it is not a desirable middle ground. Republicans have seemed to forget that the United States once encouraged immigration. Sure there were regulations, but the regulations were not designed as a burden. America was also not simply trying to get the best quality immigrants either.

Remember the Emma Lazarus quote on the Statue of Liberty that says, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” That powerful message is one that proclaims the United States as a place of refuge.

Times have changed, and the immigration hotspot has moved from Ellis Island to the Rio Grande. What has not changed to keep up with the times is United States immigration policy.

The Dream Act offers a solution to the problem of undocumented youth. The Dream Act is a good first step forward for immigration policy. The Rubio proposal would continue to breed discrimination, while the Dream Act offers equality.

Even if you consider the Rubio proposal a good policy, it will not help the Republican Party attract Latino voters. The damage has been done, and any proposal short of the Dream Act will not suffice.

This presidential campaign has included many outlandish comments. Mitt Romney has alienated Latinos with his comments. He said he would veto the original Dream Act, which is popular among Latinos. Romney also praised Arizona, perhaps the toughest state on immigration.

I believe the Dream Act is a great bill. It creates an expedited path to citizenship for those who could not control their own immigration status and are working toward their future. Some say amnesty would reward lawfulness, but in this case it is rewarding work ethic and deals with a legal quagmire.

If the Dream Act were enacted, it would also help with addressing future immigration policy. The Rubio proposal is just a hopeless grab for votes, while the Dream Act would actually help make the American dream come true. 

Michael is a freshman majoring in human rights and political science. 

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