Passage of the federal DREAM Act would put every starving, malnourished, or merely hungry state higher education system in the same predicament as California’s. While public university budgets, programs, and seats fall victim to state budget crises, the DREAM Act would compel all states to provide seats and tuition breaks to newly-amnestied illegal aliens.
Backing the DREAM Act would be a body blow to the interests of the people who actually did elect Barack Obama: America’s embattled middle class. Few issues personally concern as many Americans as whether their children will be able to get the college educations they need, and how they will pay for it. Those voters are not likely to be pleased by a bill that takes educational opportunities and resources away from their own kids and turns them over to the children of illegal aliens.
A wrongheaded idea even under the best economic circumstances, amnesty for illegal aliens – in one all encompassing bill, or piecemeal – would be a disastrous misstep for the fledgling Obama administration. An idea that was flatly rejected by the American public during a period of relative prosperity and low unemployment makes even less sense in a bad economy and governments at just about every level facing record shortfalls and deficits.
Because of the economic and fiscal realities that he will soon inherit, President Obama will be compelled to make decisions that are painful to a broad swath of the electorate. If the pain is dispensed equitably the public is likely to be understanding and forgiving. If hard-working, law-abiding Americans are asked to sacrifice while people who broke our laws are rewarded and political pressure groups are paid off, the reaction will quite different – especially if it hurts their own kids.