FAIR Op-ed: GOP DREAM Act is Bad Policy and Bad Politics

In recent weeks, some congressional Republicans have been promoting the idea of a GOP alternative to the DREAM Act in the hopes of capturing Latino voters in the fall.

In an op-ed published on the Fox News Latino website, I explain why such a Republican DREAM Act bill shares all of the flaws of the Democrats’ proposal and would likely not produce the political pay-off its sponsors hope for.

About Author


Dan is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best-known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to ImmigrationReform.com, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


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    Melody Kiley on

    This is the response from Sen Rubio to my immigration letter. He is a BIG immigration guy. How many people can the ship hold??

    Dear Ms. Kiley,

    Thank you for writing to me to express your concerns regarding the immigration system in the United States. I understand this is an important issue and I appreciate hearing your thoughts.

    Our current immigration system is broken. The American people recognize this and have every reason to be frustrated with the federal government. Our border is not secure and the current administration is not serious about enforcing our nation’s existing immigration laws. In addition, our current legal immigration system needs to be reformed and modernized to encourage legal immigration while deterring illegal immigration.

    As part of the solution, I cosponsored S. 1196, the Accountability Through Electronic Verification (E-Verify) Act. This bill would implement a system whereby employers are required to verify the legal work status of their employees. I use the E-Verify system to ensure that the members of my staff are legally authorized to work in the United States. If this nation is serious about discouraging illegal immigration, we must remove the incentive of unauthorized employment in the US. Implementing a permanent, workable system where employers can verify the lawful work status of their employees is an important step towards that goal.

    As I stated before, modernizing our legal immigration system is a critical part of the equation. I, along with Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, proposed S. 1866, the American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Act (AGREE Act). The AGREE Act incorporates H.R. 3012, a widely supported bill spearheaded by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 389-15. This bill would eliminate the per-country caps for employment-based immigrant visas and adjusts these per-country limitations on family-based visa petitions from 7% per-country to 15%. Changing our arbitrary and antiquated per-country cap structure is an important step in promoting legal immigration to the United States because these changes would reduce the immigration backlogs that hinder the operation of our legal immigration system and encourage illegal immigration into the United States. This proposal does not increase the number of immigrant visas available for issuance; it merely allows the federal government to better address the demand for immigrant visas so people enter the U.S. through the front door. I believe in policies that not only honor our heritage as a nation of immigrants, but also as a nation of laws. E-Verify and the AGREE Act are policies that honor our heritage in these ways.

    It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your United States Senator. I appreciate you offering your opinion on this important issue. If I can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Marco Rubio
    United States Senator

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      This is a nightmare. Amnesty to anyone here illegally is a slap in the face of unemployed Americans. I will not vote for a ticket that has Rubio on it.

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      Further, the system is not broken. The law is not being enforced and criminals are taking advantage of that. Pass everything but the amnesty and we will soon be rid of these parasites and our own citizens will get their jobs.

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      With the talk of the Rubio Dream Act, we now have young children crossing the border unaccompanied by an adult. It seems no matter the benefit, there is a reaction of throwing out another welcome mat – as unintended as it may be. The lesson is, cut off benefits, and stop encouraging “more of the same.”

      If Dreamers become legitimate, will they turn around and sponsor parents who brought them her illegally to begin with?

      My children are immigrants so I appreciate migrants. But if my babies can wait in line, so can others.



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      We need to stop immigration from any sector of the world for a number of years and take care of Americans. After a period of time re-evaluate the system…with the people deciding what to do not the politicians. Send illegals back to their homeland, give no one amnesty, revoke legal resident status if an application for full citizenship is not submitted within a specific short amount of time, and children born on U. S. soil to non-citizen children are NOT given U. S. citizenship. I do not find it fair to current citizens to have to pay (usually health care) for immigrant’s children or provide health care, driving privileges, and Social Security rights to immigrants.

      The U. S. is still a great country, our politicians need to focus on U. S. citizens who are in need (i.e. homeless, military veterans, disabled, elderly, single-parent families, low socio-economic areas).

      Respectfully submitted – Tara

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      They don’t want to be citizens they want it like it is tax free benefits and send the money to mexico where they live cheaper

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    I did, and your censor’s deleted it. Speak my mind that is, and they chose not to let me, and I’m not going to waste my thoughts any further.

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      They are “moderating” two comments I made. They obviously do not want the truth.

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    There is no need for a NIGHTMARE ACT, or a DREAM ACT of any kind. Its time to rescue AMERICA from enemy’s that were either born here to illegal’s or were brought here to steal AMERICA’s wealth. These alien invaders need to leave with or without any due process’s as they have attacked this Country the same way an invading foreign army of a despotic dictator. I don’t buy the better life stuff if they want it change things at home.

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      I support what you say but this need to be discussed further in order to let the powers that b that we do not support this autrocity that has been happening to Americans citizens is rapping our nation of its citizens rights to work and need to stop now

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    Dream Act means broken dreams for Americans!
    As a US citizen I paid out of state tuition for four years, twice what my illegal immigrant counterparts were paying. A cost which landed me $20K in debt upon graduation (the remainder of what my family, also US citizens, were unable to pay). The exact cost of my masters degree which, until last year, was being paid for by my state because I am a public servant of my state. What happened last year? My education was defunded. Why? To fund increasing Medicaid for illegal immigrants.
    I’ll never finish my degree, because I simply can’t afford it, but an illegal immigrant will, because they’re being spoon fed. And, what’s the point of an illegal immigrant finishing a degree, when THEY CAN’T LEGALLY WORK IN THIS DAMN COUNTRY!!!
    Take care of Americans first! Quit pushing them aside for outsiders!

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      Step[ up and become visible to the powers that be you are not alone…your mayor has a lot to do with along with the govenor

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    Viet Nam Vet 67-68 on

    We have 40 Million Illegals in this Country, figure out why Politicians are telling you 11-12 Million are here? The 2000 census said we had 22-24 million Illegals in this Country and I haven’t seen a mass exodus yet, our immigration depart stated since 9/11 1 million have crossed our borders each year since and 2-4 million have crossed our borders for the last 3 years. Add 32,000 American lives lost to Murder and new stronger diseases a medical report from our Government put 20,000 died in 2010 from stronger diseases that we couldn’t cure with our current drugs. Add that Illegals now have 12-14 million jobs that Americans should have and that they are overwhelming our Hospitals, schools, Jails and every other aspect of our lives and voting Illegally to put anti Americans in Congress they need to be removed Immediately. Go back to your Country and fix it not destroy this Country.

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      What makes you think that these “stronger diseases” are coming from illegal immigration? I think you should consider the fact that we are over using our current antibiotics and anti bacterial cleaning products. I seriously doubt that most of our murders are committed by undocumented people. We as Americans are quite capable on our own of keeping the murder rate high in the USA.
      As to the jobs that are being taken away from Americans. Take a look at the few southern states that tried to rid themselves of the undocumented worker. The idea that an American would take the jobs originally held by undocumented workers fell flat on its face. These states lost significant money while the jobs went unfilled. The are taking a second look now and watering down their original plan. However it’s too late the crops have gone unpicked.

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      Pete Wenzel, Esq on

      Vet, you’ve earned an enthusiastic YEEHA! from me by your astute appraisal of the results of Illegal Immigration.
      I also have been watching the rebirth of dreaded diseases like Tuberculosis and Polio which were finally ERADICATED in our nation AT GREAT EXPENSE! Most of which was borne by the taxpayers!
      Indeed, the majority of these can be lain squarely (Susan) at the feet of the Mexican Illegals where both are the norm within the Borders of Mexico, due to their government’s refusal to eradicate them, EVEN THOUGH the technology and methods may be had FOR THE ASKING from the USA. However, the welfare of its own citizens seems to be very low to non-existant within the Mexican Government. Why, then, should we stand idly by and watch their rebirth within our borders?

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      Stand up and Deliver we need to march and let them all know what we are tired of and stop it….exit out with entire family

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    The DREAM Act is amnesty, and that is why I was always against the DREAM Act, but, I’ll give in to the DREAM Act under two conditions. First, the parents who bought their illegal alien children here illegally MUST be deported. Second, the parents can NEVER return to this country and the student can NEVER sponsor them or any other family member that would start a chain migration. The student will start the DREAM Act as soon as the parents are deported or leave. This, I believe, is a good compromise. The students will be rewarded for something that was not their fault and the parents will pay for their crime of entering this country illegally and putting their child in this position. If you do not like this compromise, then the parents can just take their children back to the country from which they came. AGREE? If not, let all of them pack their bags and get the hell out of this country. They DO NOT belong here.

    Illegal immigration is a cancer, it has to be eradicated not tolerated.

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      The DREAM Act proposal gives legal residence and access to U.S. citizenship. It is presumably unconstitutional to deny the right to sponsor parents for immigrant visas to one group of U.S. citizens while it is available to others. The proposal to deny sponsorship ability to a DREAM Act beneficiary does not work unless (1) the DREAM Act beneficiary is denied legal permanent residence so there is no access to U.S. citizenship, or (2) the immigration law is changed so that no one can sponsor their parents for immigrant visas. Apparently Sen. Rubio is pushing a proposal along the lines of (1).

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      Pete Wenzel, Esq on

      I don’t agree at all! The DREAM Act is only adding to our already over-taxed educational system.
      It is NOT RIGHT that an Illegal should have access to ANY of our schools or Universities when the property owners are already over-burdened with Property Taxes which go largely to fund our schools, and when many American families can’t afford to send their own children to our Colleges and Universities!

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    I am severely disappionted at the way the President has politicised the illegal immigration problem. This Pressident and his socualist democratic supporters don’t want to find a solution unless they can be assured of getting the Hispanic majority vote. Its about power not the good of the people. The republicans have not done enough by forcing legislation to the forefront like they did with the jobs bills. The plan that Kennedy and MCain came up with is rediculous beyond words and there was never enough support for it. Obama has found it more important to be able to campaign and bash republicans for immigration obstruction so he could make political points for votes than to provide the leadership to solve this problem. If the President would get a bi-partisan panel together to come up with a plan that everyone could live with instead of demonizing congress and the republicans in particular, there could be hope for a resolution albeit a tough road to travel. Getting rid of Harry Reid and the socialist commies in the democratically controlled senate would be a good start. The change these Whitehouse Chicago mobsters want is for the USA to be sub serviant to the new world order with Obama in charge.

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    1965 Immigration Act on

    There is no end of the line in which many speak. The planet already has over 7 billion souls and it just keeps on growing. The vast majority of those souls would immigrate to America if they had the chance.

    Unless and until LEGAL immigration is fixed, nothing else matters. America will be a Third World country within my childrens’ lifetime.

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      I completely agree. You bring a 3rd world nation here, you’ll get a 3rd world nation here.

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      Pete Wenzel, Esq on

      Indeed. One might also ask WHY these people are so desperate to come here. I can only see 1 reason for that.
      It’s easier to come here than to make change happen within their native borders.

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    Ana Zuniga-Maus on

    The Dream Act is an amnesty and will send a wrong message, wether we do it now or later. The border will not be closed until we take the power away from big business and restore it to the rightful owners, the citizens of America.
    Those kids are the responsibility of the country their parents came from, not ours, and they have no one to blame for their misfortunes, than the irresponsibility of their own parents, when they decided to break our laws and come into America illegally.
    Washington still doesn’t get it, polls are done by calling Hispanics and they don’t ask if you are in the country legally or you are an illegal, therefore, depending on who does the polling, opinions of many illegals are included, when they are not supposed to be voting.
    I am a Hispanic, and I know many Hispanic communities do not favor amnesty, every time they do that, it is a slap in the face to all of us who waited in a real line at our countries of origin to get the right papers to come legally.

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      Ana, I have been saying this to all my Hispanic friends. Amnesty just makes all the effort that it took to become a citizen worthless. Anyone that wants to truly be an American should go through the correct procedure, like so many others did. It’s like letting a bank robber get away with his crime if he gives the money back!

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      What Rubio and others should be emphasizing is that talented Hispanic youth who are here illegally should take the route to legal status already open to them: returning to their home countries before age 18 1/2 and applying for a foreign student visa. Even community colleges accept foreign students and those who are bright enough to get into top schools will also likely be funded by private scholarships, so the ability to pay for college is not really an issue. Yes, there is a risk of rejection involved with this, but then, those immigrants and foreign students here legally from the word “go” have also risked such rejection.

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      Pete Wenzel, Esq on

      My very best wishes for you Mrs. Zuniga-Maus. I also applaud your stance with one correction, the children are the responsibility of their parents, not their native lands; and as such, until they reach their legal majority age, they MUST remain so.

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    ALL dream act, assimilation, and health-care ideas are flawed until the border is closed. There can BE no real plans made on these issues until there are finite numbers to crunch. How high do you build the dam, when you don’t have any idea how high the water will rise ? Nine percent of those born in Mexico now live in America. If a free pass is granted, and our border remains porous, the dam will certainly break and drown us all.