As Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate Harry Reid moves to present the DREAM Act in the current lame-duck session, Tea Party Manatee, opposed to the act, is using its newsletter to promote “Ten Things you need to know about S3827 the DREAM Act.” The list contains several misleading items.

Under the DREAM Act, a person who entered the U.S. illegally before the age of 16 could request that the Department of Homeland Security cancel any process for deportation and grant a conditional permanent resident status for a period of six years, at the end of which he or she could become a legal permanent resident.

* The Tea Party Manatee list says the bill “includes a requirement that aliens be under the age of 35 on the date of enactment to be eligible for LPR [legal permanent resident] 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.”

But S. 729, the prior Senate version of the DREAM Act, stated that people eligible for the act could not have reached 35 years of age on the date the act was enacted.

* The tea party also claims that the DREAM Act “forbids the Secretary of Homeland Security from removing ‘any alien who has a pending application for conditional status’ regardless of age or criminal record-providing a safe harbor for all illegal aliens.”

That is contrary to the actual bill, which states that the Secretary of Homeland Security “shall terminate the conditional permanent resident status of any alien who obtained such status under this Act, if the Secretary determines that the alien ceases to meet the requirements, has become a public charge; or has received a dishonorable or other than honorable discharge from the uniformed services.”

*According to the tea party, criminal aliens eligible for the DREAM Act include gang members and aliens with misdemeanor convictions, even DUIs,  as well as illegal aliens who failed to attend their removal proceedings, who have engaged in voter fraud or unlawfully voted, who have falsely claimed U.S. citizenship, who have abused their student visas or who have committed marriage fraud.

“Additionally, illegal aliens who pose a public health risk, aliens who have been permanently barred from obtaining U.S. citizenship, and aliens who are likely to become a public charge are also eligible,” the tea party concludes.

The text of S. 3827 specifies an alien has to demonstrate that he or she is not inadmissible and is not deportable under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

INA code has an array of provisions that cover inadmissibility — including health grounds as well as crimes of moral turpitude, a violation of any law related to controlled substances, multiple criminal convictions, trafficking in controlled substances, prostitution, and commercialized vice, or trafficking in persons and money laundering.

* Another issue brought up by the tea party is the number — 2.1 million — of illegal aliens that would become eligible under the DREAM Act. They conclude there is no way of knowing how many will apply. The Center for Immigration Studies and the Migration Policy Institute show that up to 2.1 million people could benefit from the DREAM Act.

An MPI analysis of eligibility by age and educational attainment “makes clear, however, that far fewer people would likely obtain legal status because of barriers limiting their ability to take advantage of the legislation’s educational and military routes to legalization.”

The MPI analysis estimates “that only 38 percent, or 825,000, of the 2.1 million potentially eligible DREAM Act beneficiaries likely would gain permanent legal status.”

* Tea Party Manatee also says that the DREAM Act will allow illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition and repeals Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which prohibits giving education benefits to an unlawfully present individual unless that same benefit is offered to all U.S. citizens.

But the National Immigration Law Center says “the DREAM Act would not require states to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students but rather would let states decide whether it was in their interests to do so.”

* According to the tea party,

there is ALREADY a legal process in place for illegal aliens to obtain U.S. citizenship through military service.

Furthermore, under current law the Secretary of Defense can authorize the enlistment of illegal aliens. Once enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces these illegal aliens can become naturalized citizens through expedited processing, often obtaining U.S. citizenship in six months.

Several military leaders have stated that the DREAM Act would open up a much larger pool of young people who right now cannot volunteer for the armed forces. They also point to the logistical barriers for the Department of Defense to vet hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. Even if it is theoretically possible for the Secretary of Defense to do so, it would not be practical.

* According to the tea party, the law “does not require aliens to join the U.S. Armed Forces (the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard); instead, it requires enlistment in the ‘uniformed services.’ This means that aliens need only go to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or Public Health Service for 2 years to get U.S. citizenship.”

But according to the law, uniformed services include the armed forces, and whether the Army or the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, participants must have an honorable discharge to maintain eligibility under the DREAM Act.

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