Give us your tired, your poor ... | Arkansas Blog

Give us your tired, your poor ...

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... and we'll kick their kids..

I've been meaning to mention the Senate test vote yesterday on immigration legislation, the so-called Dream Act. The Senate fell eight votes short of ending a filibuster on the bill to provide provisional legal status to children of illegal immigrants who'd been brought to the U.S. as children and then gone on to college or military service.

It's a  fine, compassionate idea. Several Republicans support it. And the Arkies? Sen. Blanche Lincoln voted to end the filibuster. Sen. Mark Pryor, up for re-election next year, did not.

Lincoln has it right in this comment supplied by her staff:

 “I support the Dream Act because I believe it helps us build on an investment we already have made with the young people who have been living in our communities and attending our schools. It allows these young people who want to further their education or serve our country in the military the opportunity to become legal taxpaying residents and continue to vest themselves in our communities."

“These are dedicated young people who came to this country, not of their own accord, but because they are brought here by their families. They have seized the opportunity to pursue an education, and they have excelled in their studies. We want to provide these motivated people with the ability to make a valuable contribution to our country.”
Sen. Pryor? Sigh.
Like most Arkansans, I believe that we must strengthen our borders and enforce immigration laws already on the books before loosening our immigration policies through a piecemeal approach. Additionally, I'm concerned this legislation pits citizens and undocumented students against one another in competing for a small pot of available higher education funding, including student loans and work-study programs. By not authorizing additional funds for such programs, this legislation means fewer American citizens would receive tuition assistance and they would be denied access to a higher education as a result. This policy would be unfair to students, their parents and Americans who attained citizenship through legal channels.
Speaking of immigrants: Be on the lookout for news next week of a new Arkansas group to counter the legislative demagogues who've devoted themselves to whipping up on the alien hordes. Some big, even surprising, names will be included.

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