-- The 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act blanket amnesty for an estimated 2.7 million illegal aliens.
-- 1994: The "Section 245(i)" temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens.
-- 1997: Extension of the Section 245(i) amnesty.
-- 1997: The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act for nearly one million illegal aliens from Central America.
-- 1998: The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti.
-- 2000: Extension of amnesty for some 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed eligibility under the 1986 act.
-- 2000: The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, which included a restoration of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty for 900,000 illegal aliens.
This is in addition to hundreds of "private relief bills" sponsored in Congress every year.
Most recently, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to stay the deportation of illegal alien DREAM Act activist Steve Li -- whose family's asylum claim was rejected and whom a federal immigration court judge ordered deported in 2004.
These illegal alien passes needn't be approved by Congress for the recipients to gain benefits. Mere introduction of the bills buys the deportable aliens time that ordinary, law-abiding citizens can't buy in our court system. The DREAM Act schemers pretend this isn't a zero-sum game. But every time a private illegal alien relief bill passes, the number of available visas for that year is reduced by the number of illegal alien/deportable immigrant recipients granted legal status/deportation relief through the special legislation.
In Austin, Texas, this week, one illegal alien DREAM Act activist blithely argued to me that "it's not like the government would be sending a message that breaking the law is OK." Reality check: The number of illegal aliens in the U.S. has tripled since President Reagan signed the first amnesty in 1986. The total effect of the amnesties was even larger because relatives later joined amnesty recipients, and this number was multiplied by an unknown number of children born to amnesty recipients who then acquired automatic U.S. citizenship.
At a time of nearly double-digit unemployment and drastic higher education cutbacks, a $20 billion special education preference package for up to 2.1 million illegal aliens is not and should not be a priority in Washington. It certainly isn't in the rest of America. And it certainly shouldn't be a priority for federal immigration and homeland security officials, who have a 400,000 deportation fugitives problem, a three-year naturalization application backlog and borders that remain in chaos.
Grownups need to tell the DREAM Act agitators to get in the back of the line.