Find the Submerged Lede: From Politico—
In an attempt to round up more votes on the DREAM Act immigration bill, House leaders are looking at adding an agriculture jobs bill that would ease rules for farm laborers.
Several senior Democratic aides said the two bills were discussed in conjunction with each other at a leadership meeting Tuesday afternoon, though no final decision had been made ...
DREAM Act advocates, including Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), have been searching for a way to build a majority for the bill, which would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants brought to the country as children if they attend college or join the military for two years.
Hello? You mean DREAM supporters are having trouble getting a majority even in the Dem-run Nancy Pelosi lame-duck House? There's your story! ... P.S.: The House vote is scheduled for today, Wednesday. It's hard to believe Becerra, Pelosi, et al won't round up the votes somehow. [Update: They did.]... 1:43 a.m.
DREAM's Free Decade: I have differences with Roy Beck, head of the influential restrictionist group NumbersUSA. (He wants to reduce both illegal and legal immigration.) But Beck's closing analysis of the DREAM Act is quite powerful and damning. He argues that, because there are no penalties to lying on a DREAM application, and because once you file the application you get a work permit good for 10 years (while you comply with the Act's requirements), DREAM is basically a 10 year free pass to any illegal in a broad under-35ish age range who either qualifies or is willing to say he qualifies even if he doesn't.
Why wouldn't an illegal immigrant who didn't qualify file a false application? The rewards are very large. (Even if you don't qualify you get 10 legal years.) The risks are low. (Even if your application's rejected you are highly unlikely to get kicked out.) It's an easy choice to rationalize—you just want to work, the politicians should have passed "comprehensive" reform, etc.—and there will be friendly pro-immigrant activists to help rationalize it for those who hesitate. I'm not sure any group of individuals anywhere in the world could withstand that temptation. Beck thinks
up to 2 million illegal aliens could legitimately qualify for the opening application, and perhaps a couple million more might be or look young enough to fraudulently apply.
After 10 years these millions would either have met the requirements for permanent legalization under DREAM (by spending two years in college or the military)—or else they could still apply for a "hardship" exemption.
It's not as big an amnesty as I'd thought. It's much, much bigger ... 1:55 a.m.