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As DREAM activists paid one last visit to the halls of Congress this month to thank those who voted for DREAM this past Saturday, and remind those who voted against their futures that they will be back, Senator Claire McCaskill was one of the Senators that deserved special thanks.
She released the following statement after the historic vote:
First and foremost, I believe it is wrong to punish innocent children for the crimes of their parents. This bill would ONLY have applied to children who were brought here at least five years ago by adults, children who were under the age of 16 at the time and had no choice. These are not children who made a decision to break the law. These children were simply the victims of adults who were law breakers.
My faith played a big role in my decision. Ezekiel 18:20 reads: “The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.”
Unlike the last time this legislation was considered, this bill was much more narrow in scope. The children that would have been allowed to stay in this country are those who have already been here for five years at the time the legislation is enacted. If someone illegally came to America after this bill was already enacted, they would not be eligible. In other words, this bill cannot be a magnet for future illegal immigration.
Lastly, these children must meet very strict criteria, such as proving themselves of good character during their time in the United States and during 10 total years of conditional residency, which can be readily revoked at any time. The application process also included other rigorous requirements including health examinations, background checks, and the completion of two years of college education or military service. I know many of the young people that would have been impacted by the legislation would love an opportunity to serve this country in the world’s finest military.