U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, yesterday opposed the DREAM Act, a back-door amnesty bill that places young-adult children of illegal aliens on a path to U.S. citizenship. The bill creates a new legal status for approximately two million unauthorized aliens, paving the way for full legal permanent residency (LPR) status and eventually naturalized citizenship.
"Our nation's immigration system needs considerable review and is desperate for modernization. However, immigrant families from all over the globe journey to the U.S. to lawfully pursue a new life in America," Dent explained. "Congress must not reward illegal entry into the United States with the promise of amnesty."
"I am frustrated the only bill brought before the House in the 111th Congress regarding immigration overlooks the serious problems we are experiencing on our borders," Dent continued. "Instead, the DREAM Act creates a new program for millions of undocumented aliens. I am particularly frustrated that certain conditions in this legislation will permit unauthorized aliens to compete with Americans citizens for federally-subsidized higher education programs."
While the bill attempts to establish education or military service requirements for granting LRP status, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the discretion to waive these criteria on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, provisions in the legislation would make undocumented students eligible for federal student loans and work-study programs currently available to American-born, as well as naturalized American students seeking higher education and advanced training.
"Again, I am concerned Congressional leaders are advancing veiled amnesty bills through the legislative process while our borders remain porous," Dent continued. "Rather than focusing our attention on imprudent proposals like the DREAM Act, Congress must be working to restrict illegal entry into the United States."
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has indicated that while the bill may initially produce marginal savings, the legislation could add $5.1 billion to the national deficit in ten years.