According to reporting today, the DREAM Act is set to fail in the Senate due to a Republican filibuster. The DREAM Act would provide illegal immigrants brought to this country as children a path to legal residency and citizenship, provided certain conditions are met.
Putting aside questions of the economic contributions of immigrants, this bill is a matter of basic justice. These kids are not at fault for being here illegally. In many cases these kids have grown up in the country and are now illegal adults – “nonpersons” who are subject to sudden deportation to a country they’ve never known, who are excluded from universities and desirable employment. Rejecting the DREAM Act means abandoning them to a cruel fate not of their own making. Surely if conservatives believe what they spout about America as a land of opportunity and capitalism as a system in which people largely are rewarded for skill and hard work, they would see the sense in lessening the persecution of these unfortunates?
But no, rightist blogs are up in arms about the DREAM Act; they claim it is “amnesty,” that it will just encourage more illegal immigration. But of course, utilitarian considerations such as these can never override the demands of basic justice. Next time a conservative tries to chat you up about “natural rights,” ask his position on the DREAM Act to determine if he’s just talking codswallop.