Open border activists have succeeded in getting a group of illegal aliens, AKA “Dreamers,” associated with the belief that they are innocent children brought into the country illegally through no fault of their own. Most Americans view this cohort more sympathetically than other illegal aliens and are willing to spare them from deportation. That is because of the focus on them as kids rather than as part of a family unit. Ironically, however, the open borders crowd also insists on preserving family unity whenever deportation leads to a separation of family members.
Although some of the so-called “Dreamers” were brought into the country by a parent, anecdotal information suggests that it is common that many others either entered illegally on their own or were brought by smugglers paid by one or more parents residing here illegally. For those “Dreamers” who came on their own as teenagers and do not have parents here, they clearly should be treated the same as those a few years older who were not minors when they entered.
As DACA status for some 800,000 illegal aliens expires, Democrats are pushing not merely for the DREAM Act, but also a general amnesty for all illegal aliens on grounds that anything less than a full amnesty would separate families.
Rather than trying to justify a program that that grants legal status to “Dreamers,” a rational immigration reform approach would insist on treating them as part of a family. All family members who are illegally in the country should be subject to deportation at the same time. If there are nuclear family members who are not deportable because they are U.S. citizens, they offer the possibility for the non-citizen family members to eventually gain legal immigration status if they are not ineligible.
The difficulty in gaining support for this approach is not just the opposition of the Democrats but also the position of businesses who do not want to lose their low-wage compliant workers. These interest groups have strong ties to the GOP, many of whom will be loath to support an immigration reform effort that emphasizes deportation. That is why it is important to reframe the so-called ‘Dreamers” as part of a family of uninvited and unwanted immigration scofflaws rather than as innocent bystanders.