Want to know how the lame ducks in Congress plan to "cut" federal spending – which seemed to be a dominating theme of the 2010 elections? They're proposing a plan to take upwards of $44 billion a year from taxpayers and hand it over to illegal aliens who are in the United States so they can go to college.
The plan is called the Dream Act, for Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors, and its critics know it as an amnesty program for illegal aliens. Its supporters say anyone who doesn't want to spend the money on college subsidies for illegal aliens is "racist."
But policy experts are warning the act is truly transformative and in the end, among other things, would authorize federal loans to literally millions of newly qualified applicants and provide a preference for the children of illegal aliens in state college admissions.
According to the Department of Education, the maximum amount one can borrow per year for undergraduate education from the federal government is $21,000. And the Dream Act would incorporate some 2.1 million new "students" into programs under which they would qualify for those loans.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Nev.] has placed S. 2837, the Dream Act, on the legislative calendar, and has indicated he will seek a vote during the lame duck session of Congress," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking GOP member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an immigration alert. "The Dream Act will give them access to in-state tuition rates at public universities, federal student loans and federal work-study programs."
The education provisions are buried deep within the text of a general, overall amnesty bill, which may make the U.S. the new legal home for millions of now-illegal aliens, including criminals, Sessions said.
Opponents say the lame duck session of Congress should not move forward on issues that previously were rejected by lawmakers, especially on such monumental and controversial topics.
While the issue needs to be addressed, they said, it needs a full discussion.
True immigration reform "deserves comprehensive legislation that addresses all aspects of the subject, balancing all legitimate interests," said Joseph A. Morris, a board member of the American Conservative Union and a former associate attorney general of the U.S. under President Reagan.
"It should go to the head of the agenda in the new Congress, so that there is plenty of time for thorough hearings and an open and informed national debate," he said.
But many say plans to address the landmark change not only are being pushed now by Reid, who failed to get it through the U.S. Senate earlier, and outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but they are planning to march it through the process without hearings.
Sessions said some of the more stunning provisions of the plan are:
- Section 3 of the bill repeals Section 505 of the "Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996" (8 U.S. Code 1623) which currently prohibits the government from giving educational benefits to any "unlawfully present individual," thus ensuring that illegal aliens will qualify for "in-state tuition," at the state college of their choice, even if they live in another state.
- Section 10 of the act enables illegal aliens who receive amnesty under the bill's general provisions to apply for federally guaranteed student loans under Title IV of the "Higher Education Act of 1965" (20 U.S. Code, et seq.), including Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Stafford/Ford loans, federal work-study programs and federally sponsored tutoring and counseling.
- Another section of the bill ensures that illegal aliens can continue to receive these federal student loans, which are often used to cover living expenses, as well as tuition, over the course of eight years, even if they do not complete a college degree.
An earlier version of the bill failed in the Senate in September, garnering only 56 Democratic votes, when it needed 60 to prevent a GOP filibuster.
Reid, with his renewed push for the drastic changes, is believed by some observers to be paying back Latino supporters, who helped him narrowly defeat tea party favorite Sharron Angle in the Nevada senate race a few weeks ago, by bringing the controversial measure back, and enhancing it with additional goodies.
Other radical left politicians, like Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., a key ally of Pelosi, D-Calif., are also publicly supporting the bill in the House.
"At a time when natural born Americans cannot afford to send their kids to college, watching the federal government take their tax dollars to pay for tuition on behalf of illegal aliens is a clear slap in the face," Rev. Isaac C. Hayes, the GOP nominee against Jesse Jackson Jr. this past fall and an emerging voice in the African-American conservative movement, told WND.
"Jesse Jackson Jr. is a staunch supporter of this amnesty bill and has demonstrated the ultimate betrayal to his community," he said.
Democrats, however, are feeling pressure. It appears clear if President Obama, a supporter of amnesty, does not get the bill through during the lame duck session of Congress, he will not see it passed at any time during the remaining two years of his term.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, author of the 1986 immigration reform bill and incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has signaled that liberal spending programs that put taxpayers on the hook no longer on the table in the U.S. House, where Republicans will be the majority. His comments came when he said this week that he and his colleagues would be "moving forward with our agenda to rein in government spending and create more jobs."
It was Colin O'Donohoe, artistic director for the Pangean Orchestra, an all-illegal alien performing troupe, who said, "I believe the issue is purely racist in nature and does nothing more than stir up hatred for Hispanics.
"Our country has hundreds of years of history in allowing people to immigrate. Now that the economy is weak we are turning our anger towards the easiest target which is the people least able to defend themselves," he said.
E.W. Jackson Sr., who works with STAND PAC, recently wrote the Dream Act is a nightmare that will lead to chaos.
"I know why Reid and his liberal Democrats want to pass the Dream Act. They just lost an election, and they're scared. When they look at 2012, they see their prospects for success are dismal, because Americans aren't coming on board with their big government agenda.
"They desperately need to gather up millions of new voters who will support them. What better way to do this than to open up a wealth of entitlements for millions of people here illegally, making them beholden to Democrats and their socialist agenda!"
He warned, "You are going to pay for it … Dream Act recipients will immediately become eligible for federal student loans, work study programs and other forms of financial aid – all on your dime."