Inside Opinion

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Tag: DREAM Act


State college opportunity remains in Great Recession

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Some lawmakers have big plans for helping students get college and technical degrees. Unfortunately, they don’t have big plans for paying for it.

The Legislature’s record of funding college opportunity is abysmal, even factoring in the economic whirlwinds of the Great Recession. It typically uses the higher education system – universities, community and technical colleges – as a fiscal piggy bank. It’s the easiest thing to break when money runs short.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently released a report on what’s happened to public colleges since the recession hit.

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Obama and immigrants: Dubious path to the right place

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Take politics out of the equation, and Barack Obama’s decision to unilaterally protect young illegal immigrants gets hard to explain.

The president had three-and-a-half years to contemplate whether he had the power to do what he did Friday. As a fervent supporter of the DREAM Act – which would have gone even further – he clearly would have liked to.

Obama aside, it’s hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t sympathize with law-abiding youths and young adults who were smuggled across the border as children. Most of them have grown up thinking of the United States as home; many would be bewildered if they were dumped back in the countries they were uprooted from.

They are here through no choice of their own, and simple humanity argues for keeping them here if they have obeyed the law, stayed in school or served in the military.

But Obama himself has said that he couldn’t simply snap his fingers and nullify immigration law, even a bad one.
“I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own,” he told the National Council of La Raza a year ago. “That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

Yet now – four-and-a-half months from November, with the Hispanic turnout crucial to his re-election – Obama has discovered he can indeed bypass Congress and effectively repeal a law on his own through a broad public proclamation of prosecutorial discretion.
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Too bad parties play political football with DREAM Act

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

It would be a shame if partisan politics kept Congress from passing at least some version of the DREAM Act, which offers a path to citizenship for young illegal aliens who serve in the military or make significant progress in college.

But that seems to be happening as the legislation becomes a chip in a high-stakes game of brinksmanship over the immigration issue, with both parties using it to score points with their constituencies.

In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of young people who want to contribute to their country through the military or higher education are left in limbo.
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With fixing, DREAM Act could still come true

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

It’s a shame the DREAM Act failed in the closing days of Congress even as other major bipartisan measures made it through under the wire.

But a few strategic revisions to the bill would give it a better chance of succeeding, even after Republicans take over the House in January.

The idea behind the DREAM Act is to offer legal residency – and citizenship, far down the road – to young illegal aliens on condition that they serve in the military or make substantial headway in college.

As a matter of humanity, a 20-year-old whose parents smuggled her across the border at, say, age 3 shouldn’t be set packing to a “native” country whose language she can’t speak and whose culture is foreign to her.

The current form of the bill rebuts most of the complaints about earlier versions.
It is not “back door amnesty” for 1.2 million illegal aliens. The number of young people likely to qualify is much lower. An in-depth analysis by the Migration Policy Institute concludes that only about 260,000 of those eligible would make it all the way to permanent legal status under the bill.

The bill creates high hurdles. The college requirement would screen out many of the poor. An English proficiency requirement would screen out those who can’t speak it.
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