Isn't it always better to achieve than to dream? In a word, no.
Two Republican senators on Tuesday presented their version of the Dream Act, the failed bill that would have allowed a path to citizenship for immigrants brought here illegally as children. Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, unveiled the Achieve Act, a measure that would give legal status to undocumented youth. "We have to get the ball rolling," said Sen. Kyl. "This seems like a logical place to begin."
Sen. Kyl is half right. Republicans do need to get the ball rolling on immigration reform. However, the Achieve Act is not the logical place to begin. It offers no clear path to citizenship, and saddles undocumented youth with additional conditions for legal status. At best, the Achieve Act is an inferior imitation of the Dream Act; at worst, it is an unfairly restrictive and punitive measure.
Unfortunately, on immigration, Republicans still don't get it. Sen. Kyl suggested at his press conference that if undocumented youth want citizenship, they should marry a citizen. He overlooks the fact that under current law, an undocumented immigrant who marries a citizen often has to return home to apply for an adjustment in their status, and illegal entrants are banned from re-entering the USA for 10 years. So Kyl's advice is as unhelpful as it is impractical.
The Dream Act remains a popular and effective way to help undocumented young people. Last year, Latino Decisions found that 84% of Hispanics and 58%t of all voters support the Dream Act. The Center for American Progress has estimated that the Dream Act could add $329 billion to the economy by 2030, and help create 1.4 million new jobs. If Republicans are serious about immigration reform, they should help re-introduce the Dream Act, not offer up flawed compromises.
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