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Legion opposes DREAM Act

Featured in Citizenship
Legion opposes DREAM Act
A California Border Patrol agent watches people as they gather next to the Mexican-American border in Imperial Valley, Calif. Photo by Gerald L. Nino

Because the DREAM Act proposed by Congress would provide amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants, displace American citizens in the limited college classrooms throughout our country and give these “conditional non-immigrants” an opportunity for federal financial aid, The American Legion opposes passage of the bill.

“By resolution, our membership is opposed to illegal immigration into this country,” said Jimmie Foster, the Legion’s national commander. “We don’t understand why so many members of Congress feel compelled to provide for amnesty for a portion of illegal immigrants before securing our borders and tackling the broken immigration system.

“Our states and communities are struggling to meet the needs of tomorrow’s generation forcing increased tuitions and fees on those already attending. So why is Congress putting even more pressure on the universities and colleges by pushing these children into our already crowded classrooms?” Foster said.

The American Legion calls upon Congress to finally address the overall immigration problem. “Both parties have been guilty of allowing this problem to fester way too long,” Foster said. “Action upon the DREAM Act, a stopgap piece of legislation that deals with one symptom of the problem, doesn’t address the underlying issues such as employment, pathways to citizenship, and securing the borders.”

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010 was passed Dec. 8 by the House of Representatives and awaits a vote in the Senate. The bill would grant “conditional non-immigrant status” to those who entered the U.S. illegally before their 16th birthday and have been here for at least five years. They must be persons “of good moral character” who are not deportable under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and have to be younger than 30 when the DREAM Act is passed.

To qualify for the bill’s provisions, illegal immigrants must also satisfy one of the following requirements: have a high school diploma, be enrolled in a college or university, or be a servicemember for at least two years.

Under the new legislation, conditional non-immigrant status would be granted to those who qualified for five years and could be extended another five years. In this status, they would be eligible for student loans and federal work-study grants. Upon earning a college degree, or after serving two years in the military, they could then apply for permanent residence.

The American Legion objects to the use of military service as a pathway to citizenship. “No public policy reason exists that would justify the acceptance of illegal immigrants into America’s armed forces,” said Peter Gaytan, executive director of The American Legion in Washington. “Over 30,000 non-citizens are members of our military, why do we need to further incentivize service when our military continues to meet recruitment and retention goals?”

“Every parent wants the best opportunities for their child, yet the DREAM Act forces us to provide opportunities for the children of those who entered the country illegally at the same level of our own citizens,” said Tim Tetz, legislative director of The American Legion. “It is unfair the American taxpayers would be forced to subsidize the education of children of illegal aliens,” he concluded.

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jacktaylor

July 10, 2011 - 1:30am

I love the comment every parent wants the best opportunities for their child and it's so true and I am not sure if I agree that it's bad to provide children with equal opportunities even though they have come to the country the wrong ways. Unfortunately some people are forced to leave their country to get a better life and they need to do whatever they can to support their family too.

jcfichtner

April 8, 2011 - 10:07am

Atleast the people that came through Ellis Island can take some pride that they got here and worked hard and became citizens of this great nation. Is there no pride anymore?

LTCErnest

December 19, 2010 - 9:23pm

Keeping out drug dealers and terrorist are one thing, but we are talking about someone was who brought here in their mothers arms, a mother tho what whe was doing was illegal, she did so her child could have a better life than the one she left behind. The child that the DREAM Act could help was innocent in wrong doing. Having lived in the USA almost their whole lives, they are part of our communities. And service in our armed forces has been honorable way to US citizenship for a long time.

LTCErnest

December 19, 2010 - 9:22pm

Keeping out drug dealers and terrorist are one thing, but we are talking about someone was who brought here in their mothers arms, a mother tho what whe was doing was illegal, she did so her child could have a better life than the one she left behind. The child that the DREAM Act could help was innocent in wrong doing. Having lived in the USA almost their whole lives, they are part of our communities. And service in our armed forces has been honorable way to US citizenship for a long time.

Wyatt ret. NAVY

December 18, 2010 - 12:15pm

Concur-- because why should they get this FREE of cost to them, while every citizen must go in debt to get the same education. I MIGHT go along with it, if upon graduation each one of them were handed a bill for their education, which must be paid just like every citizen must pay back their loans. With interest!

alrkrash

December 17, 2010 - 3:21pm

When is the Legion going to wake up and listen to it's members...If you don't like the Dream Act, what do you suggest. You walk around as I do, with the Speak English attitude and then are opposed to education. DADT....who cares what that man or woman's sexual preference is when you are sharing a foxhole. Same goes for the many Racists in the American Legion. I was once told, not to encourage a black man working in the Legion 125 kitchen with me, to join the Post. That we had too many Redneck members ....from that day forward I paid that man $80 a day out of the Legions Dinner Funds....they were to ashamed to ask why or tell me not too...Had the same situation when we tried to start an ALR Chapter...they were afraid that black men and women from South St. Petersburg would want to join...Enough Said about American Legion Politics. I'm still a member, only because it's my right to fight these wrongs.

lindaleehouse

December 17, 2010 - 3:08pm

I oppose the DREAM Act because these persons and their parents need to enter the U.S. in the proper manner. My ancestors are from Europe and they came over to the U.S. by going through Ellis Island along with nearly all legal citizens of this country's ancestors. Education is important, but if it means that our own children receive a lesser education and cannot get good jobs, the illegals need to stay out. Strickter measures need to be taken not less.

checkmateG19

December 17, 2010 - 10:21am

The people you speak of went thru ellis island to be Americans. I left Los Angeles about four years ago where I saw mexicans taking over the streets waving the mexican flag and chanting mexico, mexico, mexico. It's not the same thing.

Pwcurley

December 17, 2010 - 6:11am

I think they said the same thing about the Irish, Italians and Eastern Europeans who were entering our country through Ellis Island in the 19th Century. Thank god we had this crazy idea that we would take the poor,the oppressed and the huddled masses, and allow them become productive citizens of the greatest nation on earth which was created by immigrants.

Pwcurley

December 17, 2010 - 6:05am

Why would you oppose this? The Act provides citizenship to people who want to come to the greatest country in the world to seek opportunity, just as most of our ancestors did. The act allows those who serve our country in the military, pay for higher education and want to contribute to our society. So much for defending against the autocracy of the classes and masses! You need to start asking the opinion of your membership before you spout off and make ridiculous statements like this.

BBB

December 16, 2010 - 8:29pm

From reading some of the comments before me, I don't know what to think. Here is a scenario for the reading audience...lets open up the borders and let any swinging nationality come into the country, but protect the borders from drug dealers, Gang members, Criminals i.e.murderers,rapists,robbers,pedophile,kidnapper, ect.),spies and terrorist. There are laws on the books that deal with immigration i.e. colonization, this is the only way most politician keep thier jobs and stimulate the ecomnomy by making and passing asinine laws such as the Dream Act.

Old Dog

December 16, 2010 - 8:20pm

I applaud the Legion for showing the courage needed to oppose the DREAM to further undermine our laws, undermine those whose hard work results in legal immigration, and most of all, add incentive to further fuel the growing invasion through our southern border. It's all about rewarding people for breaking the law.

Elmer Berger

December 16, 2010 - 6:08pm

Pass the act! Have you no compassion?! I agree that you all must be Republicans. Russia and Germany couldn't stop people from going over the Berlin Wall. What makes you think that our borders can be 100% secured? Do you realize that sometimes the parents are sent to one country and their off spring are sent to another country where they have no friends or relatives and don't know the language? An old fart from California.

Captain Ron

December 16, 2010 - 5:12pm

No one asked my opinion about these issues. The American Legion certainly does not reflect my values in taking these discriminatory and ill informed positions. End DADT NOW! Enact the DREAM ACT NOW! Stop trying to interfere with other people's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If this barrage of ill considered opinions keep coming out of the Legion, then I will have to consider whether it's worth my effort to renew my membership. I do not want to be a part of an organization that spouts such hateful positions.

whaggard1

December 16, 2010 - 4:56pm

I believe that we need immigration reform. I also believe that the Dream act should be a part that. As for the resolution passed by the American Legion. Who voted for that?? I sure didn't.

whaggard1

December 16, 2010 - 4:51pm

I have a host of problems with those that oppose the dream act. 1. children brought here by their parents, that grow up here are part of us, used to our values, our language, our schools, and in general just the way we do things are at a real disadvantage if forced to return to the previous country. America is their home. 2. They would deport children, now in their adulthood, who are just now ready to contribute to this country. 3. Using joining the military as a negative reason? The military has always been a part of American citizenship. Where would we be if the immigrant didn't join the military? Now as always our military needs qualified recruits and requiring military service seems to me to be a excellent idea. As an aside, I believe that requiring someone to work for something makes it more important than if it is just given. I can tell you the exact hour, day, month and year I became a citizen. I can do that because it is that important to me.

billinsandiego

December 16, 2010 - 4:20pm

I am becoming convinced that the American Legion, or at least the editorial staff of this newsletter, are now simply another mouthpiece of the Republican Party and its far right-wing platform. Military service should be about honor and patriotism, not about politics. Many of us, who are proud of our military service, are not conservative Republicans. My military oath was to support and defend the Consitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, etc. No where did I swear to support and defend only some Americans or to support and defend a particular political party. Reconsider your endorsements and support for both the DREAM Act and DADT. A neutral position by the American Legion would be most appropriate for these contentious issues.

whaggard1

December 16, 2010 - 4:57pm

I concur

vicdeal

December 15, 2010 - 10:23pm

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