The DREAM Act – Second Verse, Same as the First

George Santayana noted that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Apparently, Republicans refuse to learn from their past.  They’re lurching toward another disastrous illegal alien amnesty. What’s worse, it is unclear why they’re rushing to sell-out the American public, when their party controls the House, the Senate, and the White House.

The Department of Justice has formally announced the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  (DACA) program. DACA was an unconstitutional attempt to impose an illegal alien amnesty by executive fiat. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to overturn the program on his first day in office.  However, after winning the White House, he waffled on the issue, expressing sympathy for the beneficiaries of the DACA program.

President Trump has finally honored his campaign pledge – sort of. The administration has stopped accepting new DACA applications. But it appears that, despite its termination, DACA just isn’t going to die. Congress has signaled that it may consider a legislative amnesty for all those covered under the program. And, the President, who has described the DACA beneficiaries as “incredible kids,” is highly unlikely to veto a bill that grants them legal status.

A handful of Republican legislators have already proposed a new version of the failed “DREAM Act,” a 2010 legislative amnesty that would have covered illegal aliens brought here as kids. The original DREAM Act flopped because Republican legislators, and a handful of Democrats, listened to their constituents and acknowledged that Americans want our borders secured and illegal aliens removed from the United States.

Voters disliked the DREAM Act largely because they were displeased with the path taken by the controversial 1986 amnesty, known as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).  Rather than allowing the United States to “hit the reset button” on immigration, IRCA simply attracted millions of new illegal aliens who figured, if they could just stay in the U.S. long enough, they would benefit from the next amnesty.

And the illegal aliens were right, IRCA was extended several times between 1986 and 2002. Each extension was enacted to allow people who “missed out” to have a “fair chance to apply.” But every incarnation picked up between 500,000 and a million additional applicants – many of whom had no legitimate claim to eligibility.

If the “conservative DREAM Act” is passed, then we’re likely to see history repeat itself. New illegal aliens will flock to our borders, hoping to benefit from the next amnesty. And Congress will kowtow to anti-borders lobby groups who claim the program wasn’t fair to all of the illegals who began their relationship with the United States by ignoring our immigration laws.

There’s a famous pop culture quote, that echoes Santayana’s sage advice: “The very definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, but expecting different results.” (No one is sure who said it, although it is sometimes erroneously attributed to Albert Einstein.) If the Republican Party continues down the path to a new amnesty, American voters will start wondering if they have truly lost their minds.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Our country owes these people nothing. This is why i don’t support Daca/ amnesty. It never ends. As your article states People think if they sneak in and hide out long enough eventually they will get amnesty. What does this say to all of the people who legally migrate to the U.S.? We have laws for a reason and they need to be enforced. This will keep happening if we do not take a hard stance now and show these people we mean business

  2. avatar


    This new DREAM bill of 2017
    does NOT grant blanket amnesty to anyone.
    Criminal behavior is an excluding factor.
    Having a new beginning date (if passed)
    would add a NEW GROUP of young foreign nationals.
    And children who were as old as 17
    when they came to the USA are included.

    They could apply for a new status:
    Conditional Permanent Resident.
    All who currently have
    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
    would be included.

    Under DACA, they had to enter the USA in 2007 or before.
    This new DREAM act would include children who entered
    four years before the effective date of the new law.
    And the Conditional Permanent Resident status
    could last up to 8 years.

    In short, the new DREAM act
    would put DACA into immigration law
    (not merely an executive order)
    and it would add a new cohort
    of foreign nationals brought into America as children.

    If this version of the DREAM Act becomes law,
    over 3 million young foreign nationals
    would be eligible for Conditional Permanent Residence.

    The basic idea behind the DREAM bill
    will be extended and modified by renewed discussion.

    Here is one radical suggestion for improvement:

    What if the DREAM act were to include
    Then more votes would be gathered
    from those who want to limit the benefits
    given to unauthorized foreigners and their families.
    And it would also (eventually) end mixed-status families.

  3. avatar

    Federal Immigration and Nationality Act
    Section 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii)

    “Any person who . . . encourages or induces an alien to . . . reside . . . knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such . . . residence is . . . in violation of law, shall be punished as provided . . . for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs . . . fined under title 18 . . . imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”
    Section 274 felonies under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, INA 274A(a)(1)(A):
    A person (including a group of persons, business, organization, or local government) commits a federal felony when she or he:
    * assists an alien s/he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him or her to obtain employment, or
    * encourages that alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him or her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
    * knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
    Penalties upon conviction include criminal fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of vehicles and real property used to commit the crime. Anyone employing or contracting with an illegal alien without verifying his or her work authorization status is guilty of a misdemeanor. Aliens and employers violating immigration laws are subject to arrest, detention, and seizure of their vehicles or property. In addition, individuals or entities who engage in racketeering enterprises that commit (or conspire to commit) immigration-related felonies are subject to private civil suits for treble damages and injunctive relief.

    • avatar
      Gerald G Lopez on

      This is why i don’t support Daca/ amnesty. It never ends. As your article states People think if they sneak in and hide out long enough eventually they will get amnesty. What does this say to all of the people who legally migrate to the U.S.? It says we’re weak and spineless. We have to draw a line in the sand and now is the time to do it. If we don’t, this problem will never end or go away!

  4. avatar

    Absolutely NO amnesty in any way, shape or form ! Our last 5 Presidents refused to enforce our immigration laws , we are seeing the results of their actions today. We appear to be a nation that can pick and choose which laws we wish to obey, immigration is not one of them. As for the older DREAMERS why haven’t they made some effort to become American citizens? They have certainly had enough time. Far to many of our elected officials have sold their soul and their country for money, power and votes. WE re-elect most of them.

  5. Pingback: Conservatives Who’ve Gone Soft on Immigration Violators |

  6. avatar

    The dreamers are now saying they demand amnesty and want it for their parents . They do not want any deals made because it could hurt their people who want to come here in the future. This has to end.

  7. Pingback: Things Americans Should Know About DACA |

  8. avatar

    I have said this before, but whenever you hear crooked politicians start talking about “the children”, watch out. This is a common tactic used to tug on people’s heartstrings in order to get their foot in the door before their push for amnesty for all illegals, because what decent person could possibly be against “the children”?

    What about all of the American children living in poverty and those negatively affected by having resources taken away from their education for ESL classes for illegals?

    This same tactic was used for Obamacare. They started with coverage for “the children” before ramming through Obamacare for everyone.

    All the powerful interests that want Trump to backtrack on immigration will never support him in 2020 and he needs everyone who voted for him the first time to show up and vote for him in 2020 to have a chance at getting reelected. I never liked him personally and the main reason I held my nose and voted for him was the immigration issue. If he stabs me in the back on immigration I won’t be holding my nose and voting for him again in 2020, I can guarantee that.

  9. avatar

    SUBJ: Use DACA as leverage for massive immigration reduction and refugee resettlement overhaul.

    I have been a FAIR donor and supporter for years; you are a fantastic organization, and I salute your fight to put the needs of American citizens and workers first.

    I have one major policy proposal for FAIR: utilize DACA as a bargaining chip for the RAISE Act and other immigration reduction efforts. While 800,000 is a substantial number, it PALES in comparison to the tens of millions who will arrive on our shores in the next few decades. DACA can and should be weaponized in the noble fight for immigration reduction. Hand the Amnesty Lobby a temporary victory, but one that is so immensely costly that they will suffer vast losses in the long term.

    Pyrrhic victory. That is what we patriots should inflict on the globalist Amnesty lobby.

    • avatar

      I agree because amnesty for them is likely going to come anyway, through direct or indirect action, including the courts tying up enforcement. The media is never going to give up on the sob stories so let’s put the ball in the other side’s court. Every time they start with how important DACA is, then the answer is alright here’s your chance to compromise if it’s so important to do this. Actually it’s already been proposed and the immediate reaction was no way.

      Because the reality is they want nothing less than a complete amnesty and citizenship for all illegals. That is and always has been their goal. Offering DACA is saying we are willing to give you what you claim to want but your agenda is way more than that. It makes them have to constantly explain why they can’t accept what they claim is so important. If at the end of 6 months nothing has happened then it’s their fault.

        • avatar

          Oh now I get it. You’re afraid you will get deported to Mexico. I love how the American media loves quoting former Mexican president Vicente Fox when he carries on about “the children” and bashes Trump. They never mention the Los Angeles Times story in 2000 about more than 30 children as young as 11 working full time on his ranch in Mexico.