DREAM Act is humane, good for the US economy

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is one of Congress's recognized experts on immigration, so his assessment of the DREAM Act is distressing to see ("DREAM Act Carries Some Harsh Realities," Nov. 30).  

The remarkable amount of misinformation that has entered the public debate on this legislation obscures the reality that for most of its legislative history, the DREAM Act has enjoyed broad bipartisan support. It is worth recalling a few basic facts. The DREAM Act is not an amnesty. No one will automatically receive a green card. Individuals will have to meet stringent eligibility requirements. They must have entered the United States before the age of 16; must have been here for five years or more; must not have committed any major crimes; must graduate from high school or the equivalent; and must complete at least two years of college or military service.  

Far from predicting the specter of millions of amnestied illegal immigrants, the Migration Policy Institute has estimated about 50,000 current students are likely to be eligible for adjustment to permanent status under the DREAM Act. With respect to how American students will be impacted, education is not a zero-sum game - if your neighbor's kid gets into a college, it does not follow that your kid's chances are harmed. 

According to the National Immigration Law Center, most undocumented students are likely to have zero impact on admission rates of native-born students. University leaders across the country strongly support the DREAM Act.  The challenge of illegal immigration can only be addressed through comprehensive reform; the reality is that the factors that drive illegal immigration are far more fundamental than the desire to get future children into a U.S. college. 

Besides being the right - and humane - thing to do for young people who are here in our country through no fault of their own and live in the constant fear of deportation, the DREAM Act is also good for the U.S. economy. It brings talented, motivated young people out of the shadows and into productive lives, getting an education and serving in the military. 


Upton, Pitts's plan enough to make Americans sick

From Nancy Keenan, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America 

Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Joe Pitts's (R-Pa.) "prescription for a healthier America" is enough to make mainstream Americans sick, especially when it comes to our personal, private medical decisions ("Republicans offer a prescription for a healthier America," Dec. 2). 

 Upton and Pitts endorse a bill authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) that we call "Stupak on Steroids." It goes even further than the original Stupak-Pitts amendment that nearly derailed the healthcare reform debate. Among many things, it could effectively end private insurance coverage of abortion, even though 87 percent of these plans currently cover abortion care. 

 The Upton-Pitts agenda flies in the face of the smaller, limited government message on which new members of Congress allegedly campaigned. Upton and Pitts apparently want a government just small enough to fit inside our bedrooms and our medicine cabinets.


Note to Morris: We get it, you're not a fan of Clinton

From David Helfenbein, former employee of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in differing capacities, most recently coordinating her new media at the U.S. Department of State

I get it: Dick Morris makes money by bashing the Clintons. In his most recent article in The Hill ("Hillary: Up to her old tricks," Dec. 1), he writes that Secretary Clinton is "Up to her Old Tricks." He continues to say that Clinton has not changed throughout her political career and even has the audacity to say she hasn't earned any political positions other than the current one "on her own."

Come on Morris, you know your piece is pure hyperbole.  I don't care what you have seen behind "closed doors" working with Hillary Clinton, but I have worked with her, too, and I have seen nothing but outstanding leadership and ethical decision-making. And to say that Secretary Clinton hasn't earned any positions on her own? I recall two Senate elections that she won by wide margins on her own. Her approval rating is incredibly high now. What's yours? Continue bashing and continue making money. The difference is, I do this for free.

St. Louis 

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