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Life After Death for the DREAM Act?

Conventional Wisdom says the DREAM Act's mini-amnesty for illegal immigrants will fail in the Senate. I'm not so sure about that. But even if it does fail, that doesn't mean it can't be revived in the next Congress. Here's how ...

The CW holds that the DREAM Act won't survive cloture votes in the Senate. As an opponent of the bill, I wish I were as confident as, say, Ed Morrissey that this is a done deal. I'm not, because I keep reading passages like this one, in a piece predicting a "short goodnight" for DREAM:

Hatch spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier declined to comment Friday on whether Hatch supports the underlying policy. She said Hatch's opposition — at least in the near term — stems from the recent vow among Senate Republicans to deny everything that hits the floor before the Bush tax cuts and government funding issues are settled.

"Everything's a 'no' until the tax issue is resolved," Ferrier said.

Er, hello? The tax issue has now been more or less resolved. Why are we sure Hatch is still a "no"?

But let's assume DREAM fails on Wednesday. Does that mean there's no hope for any bill to legalize some of those who were brought across the border when they were children? Not necessarily. Opponents of DREAM may less heartless than advertised. Restrictionist Mark Krikorian, for example, has outlined a narrower amnesty, covering some would be DREAM beneficiaries, that even he might vote for.

One key is that Krikorian admits honestly that even a limited DREAM amnesty will encourage more illegal immigration. He then pairs it with enforcement measures designed to mitigate that problem. That's not the Act being voted on this week, but it could conceivably be passed by the next Congress, Republican as it is. ...

P.S.: Krikorian's a little to my left on this one. He notes that in Reagan's 1986 amnesty—a similar, if bigger, sandwich of legalization and enforcement—the enforcement part never materialized. To prevent a repeat of that experience, his hypotehtical DREAM 2.0 provides:

[T]he legal status of all the amnesty beneficiaries would remain provisional until the enforcement measures were up and running and passed judicial muster.

Hmm. And if they don't pass judicial muster we're going to revoke the "provisional" legal status of the beneficiaries? I doubt it.

Why not just get the enforcement measures up and running, and then after a couple of years pass the mini-DREAM? If the borders continue to hold up, even broader amnesties might start to make sense. ...

I wouldn't expect Rep. Gutierrez and his "rogue" Latino pro-legalization movement allies to buy into this scenario—do they really want the borders to work?—but if they are lucky the Republican Congress will do their enforcement prep work for them. ...

P.P.S.: Krikorian debates Josh Bernstein of the SEIU about DREAM on bloggingheads here ...


Don't Answer That ... : Paul Krugman, this morning, arguing that Obama should let taxes rise rather than agree to GOP demands to keep all the Bush tax cuts, even temporarily:

[I]f tax-cut blackmail works now, why shouldn’t it work again later?

Er, because later we won't be in a recession? But later we'll still have a big deficit and we'll want to raise taxes on the rich instead of cutting popular programs? Wild, untested concepts, I know ... 10:42 p.m.