Con: U.S. should not pay for education of those here illegally

  • The issueShould Congress adopt the Dream Act, giving undocumented immigrants who graduate from high school a chance for permanent residency and an education?

    Some people say it is an important piece of legislature that would assure immigrants become taxpaying ...

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  • The issueShould Congress adopt the Dream Act, giving undocumented immigrants who graduate from high school a chance for permanent residency and an education?

    Some people say it is an important piece of legislature that would assure immigrants become taxpaying citizens of the United States.

    Others say it's not the U.S.'s. place to educate and support those who come here illegally, even if they are here because their parents brought them.

    What is the Dream Act?The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or Dream, Act is an immigration bill introduced in Congress on March 26, 2009. This bill would provide millions of children who graduate from U.S. high schools the opportunity to receive residency - a Green Card.

    The new legislation would provide benefits to those who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and who have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years before the bill became law. Once made into law, those meeting the criteria will have the opportunity to earn permanent residency. Students will be issued temporary residency for six years. Within the temporary period, the student must attend college and earn at least a two-year degree, or serve in the U.S. military for two years in order to maintain benefits.

    In addition, immigrant students who qualify would also be entitled to apply for student loans and work study, but would not be eligible for Pell educational grants.

    Once the immigrant has met all of the conditions at the end of the six-year conditional period, they will be granted permanent residency, which will lead to U.S. citizenship. But, if the student does not comply with either the college requirement or military service requirement, the temporary residency will be taken away and student would be subject to deportation.Source: www.dreamact2009.org

As they enjoyed the last bit of their day-before-Thanksgiving lunch, the Rilleys welcomed conversation with fellow customers.

Between bites, the friendly, yet opinioned Goliad couple, was willing to discuss everything from the food to the local newspaper, so when the conversation turned to the Dream Act, they did not fall back. Instead, they promptly shared their thoughts on a subject they were clearly against.

"I don't think it's fair to the people who were raised here and have earned the right to be here," said Bill Rilley. "We're the ones who pay for it, not the politicians. Politicians have no concept of what happens in reality."

His wife agreed.

"We have to fight against this," said Pam Rilley.

The Rilleys' position is shared by many Americans. At least eight different Facebook groups have formed to oppose the federal legislation.

"I don't think it's right because as they come over here, they get these benefits, have a multitude of children and get food stamps, Medicaid and other medical services that many of our U.S. citizens can't get," said Pam Rilley.

Although the bill was originally sponsored by bipartisan senators, it is not getting much support from Texas congressmen.

"I have great sympathy for the plight of children who have no moral culpability for being in this country illegally. But the Dream Act is just one element of the immigration issue that needs to be addressed as a part of a credible immigration reform plan. That plan must start with securing our borders," said Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is also opposed to the bill.

She has suggested changes to the bill, including instead of allowing students conditional permanent residency while in school, students should be allowed temporary student visas with renewable work permits.

Congressman Ron Paul, Republican from Surfside Beach, also opposes the bill.

"I do not favor amnesty programs in general, and in particular I object to provisions in this legislation that essentially amount to social engineering." he said.

"Immigration reform needs to be comprehensive, and it must address the fundamental issue of welfare state inducements that encourage illegal immigration.

Some local residents said they opposed the bill because of the financial toll the bill could have on them.

"They need to be documented. I don't want to pay for someone to go to school that doesn't even pay taxes to go to school," said John Atkinson, a Victoria native who now lives in Houston. "They don't need to benefit."

Victoria resident Coburn Walton agreed.

"I'm against it. If they are not here legally, they are not entitled to anything except transportation back across the border."

Many people's feelings did not change even when it came to those immigrants who have been here most of their lives.

"It's not (the children's) fault they are here, but it's not their right," said Bill Riley. "Other citizens take the test to become U.S. citizens. Why can't they?"

Goliad resident Isaiah Thomas offered a solution to the debate.

"If you are not a citizen, how can you consider anything else until you become a citizen," he said. "It all goes back to the Constitution. All you have to do is honor that and we would not have all these problems."