- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin plans to bring to the Senate floor today the newest incarnation of the Dream Act, S. 2205, which would provide illegal alien students the ability to attend college while paying lower in-state tuition rates. In order to pass the Senate, the bill will need to clear two difficult procedural hurdles — it needs 60 votes to go forward today and another 60 on Friday. The Senate should kill it today.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Durbin — together with Dream Act supporters Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar — invited congressional staff to Room SC-6 of the Capitol be “briefed” by a group of illegal aliens seeking to attend college who would benefit from the bill, as well as representatives of such open-borders organizations as the National Education Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Judiciary Committee Democratic staffers organizing the event specified that the event was for staff only, and that “no press” would be welcome.)

At one level, it’s understandable that pro-amnesty politicians would be reluctant to invite the press to what was in effect a lobbying session with illegal aliens in the Capitol building. After all, the American people have made it abundantly clear that they disagree with Washington elites on illegal immigration and the in-state tuition. The Dream Act was included in the bipartisan amnesty bill pushed by the White House and Sen. Edward Kennedy that imploded in late June, after Americans deluged their senators with telephone calls, e-mails and faxes protesting the legislation. Last month, Mr. Durbin, with the support of Mr. Hagel and Mr. Lugar, tried to attach the Dream Act as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. But once again, America protested, forcing Mr. Durbin & Co. to shelve the legislation — until today.

Kris Kobach, who served as Attorney General John Ashcroft’s top advisor on immigration issues, points out that the Dream Act is in effect an underserving path toward amnesty: All the alien needs to qualify is a high school diploma or a GED earned in the United States. “Any illegal alien who meets these conditions — or can produce fraudulent papers indicating that he meets the conditions, gets immediate legal status in the form of a ‘conditional’ green card good for six years,” Mr. Kobach says. When various benefits of the Dream Act are added up, the rules give illegals a faster path to citizenship than lawfully present aliens.

Mr. Durbin has desperately tried to salvage his bill, making such relatively small changes as imposing an age ceiling of 30 on eligibility. But the bill is simply unsalvageable, and the Senate should kill the legislation.

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