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DREAM Act rewards illegal immigrants for law-breaking

America is a nation that values and promotes freedom and the inherent rights of all people. However, America also is a nation that has established laws and rules to promote the common good of our society. 

In other words, we are a nation that distinguishes right from wrong. Part of the role of government is to promote policies that reward those who follow the law, rather than reward lawbreakers.  

Republicans believe that immigrants who want to come to the United States and pursue the American dream should do so legally. That’s why America admits more than one million legal immigrants each year, far more than any other country in the world. But there is a right way and a wrong way to come into the country.   

I am sympathetic to the young illegal immigrant children who were brought to the United States by their parents. Because their parents chose to disregard our immigration laws, they are in a difficult position. But the DREAM Act rewards the very illegal immigrant parents who knowingly violated our laws and opens the door to massive fraud. 

Under past and present DREAM Act proposals, illegal immigrants under the age of 30 are able to receive amnesty. Many illegal immigrants will fraudulently claim they came here as children or are under 30. And the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true or not. 

The DREAM Act will only encourage more illegal immigration. One only needs to look at history to see how amnesty has played out in the past. The 1986 amnesty legislation legalized about three million illegal immigrants. But rather than put an end to illegal immigration, the amnesty only encouraged more.There are at least 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. 

Mr. Sosa claims that opposing amnesty will alienate Hispanic voters.  But the facts tell a different story. 

During the November 2010 midterm elections, the Republican Party had historic levels of Hispanic support. In fact, exit polls showed that 38% of Hispanic voters cast ballots for House Republican candidates. This is more than in 2008 or 2006. 

Many Hispanic voters support efforts to enforce our immigration laws. Republican Latino candidates in Florida, New Mexico and Nevada – all of which have large Hispanic populations – won statewide races while calling for enhanced border security and enforcement of immigration laws. And all five newly elected Hispanic Members of Congress are Republicans. This is a good trend for the GOP.

The pro-enforcement movement is not Republican, it is American. And it is not anti-Hispanic, it is pro-rule-of-law. 

To attract more Hispanic voters in the future, Republicans should continue to emphasize our shared desire for economic growth, better schools, and strong national security.

Mr. Sosa, you are entitled to your own views.  But the rule of law is as American as apple pie – not amnesty. 

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 


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