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More on Senator Sessions’ Spurious DREAM Act Memo

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 11/24/2010 at 7:48pm

Today, Media Matters has more on Sessions’ spurious DREAM Act memo:

Sen. Sessions’ DREAM Act Memo Misleads On Multiple Claims

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has begun circulating a memo to member of Congress that is billed as a “CRITICAL IMMIGRATION ALERT” featuring an overwhelming abundance of misleading information about the DREAM Act. Sessions’ document claims, among other things, that this “Obama-Reid Amnesty Plan” would give admission preference to non-citizens, grant amnesty to immigrants with criminal records, and has no definite requirements of military service or higher education. In fact, the DREAM Act is narrowly tailored so that students with “good moral character” who have completed 2 years of military service or higher education and have not committed any serious crimes can be put on a path to citizenship.

CLAIM: Bill Would Give College Preference To “Illegals” Over Citizens

Sessions Memo:

Bill Would Give College Preference To Illegals Over Citizens [Sessions Memo via Politico, 11/22/10]

FACT: DREAM Act Wouldn’t Affect Admission For Natural-Born Citizens

DREAM Act Will Likely Have “Zero Impact” On College Admissions Rates For Native-Born Citizens. According to the National Immigration Law Center: “Most undocumented students are likely to have zero impact on admission rates of native born students: Since 2001, 10 states have made it easier for undocumented state residents to attend college by offering in-state tuition to those that qualify. A significant portion of the students that took advantage of this opportunity have done so in community colleges, which have open enrollment. The small numbers of students who will attend 4-year universities are not significant enough to affect the opportunities of others.” [National Immigration Law Center, accessed 11/23/10; underlining original]

CLAIM: The DREAM Act Is Not Limited To Children, And It Will Be Funded On The Backs Of Law-Abiding Americans

Sessions Memo:

Proponents of the DREAM Act frequently claim the bill offers relief only to illegal alien “kids.” Incredibly, previous versions of the DREAM Act had no age limit at all, so illegal aliens of any age who satisfied the Act’s requirements-not just children-could obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. In response to this criticism, S.3827 includes a requirement that aliens be under the age of 35 on the date of enactment to be eligible for LPR status. Even with this cap, many aliens would be at least 41 years old before obtaining full LPR status under the Act-hardly the “kids” the Act’s advocates keep talking about. [Sessions Memo via Politico, 11/22/10]

FACT: There Is An Age Limit For Students Who Can Qualify For The DREAM Act

DREAM Act Places Age Limits On Eligibility. According to the National Immigration Law Center: “There is a limit on how old a student can be to qualify for the DREAM Act: Students must have entered the United States at the age of 15 or younger. In addition, the Senate version of the DREAM Act includes an upper age cap – you have to be under 35 years of age in order to benefit under the bill.” [National Immigration Law Center, accessed 11/23/10; underlining original]

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