Don’t Believe the Myths About Dreamers

Hans von Spakovsky, Akron Beacon Journal, January 15, 2017

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To hear the media tell it, virtually all of these young people are in college — or already graduated from college. Those no longer pursuing their studies are serving nobly in the military, launching promising civilian careers, or otherwise earnestly chasing the American Dream.

Any recollections they may have of their home countries, we are told, are vague at best. Indeed, they’ve become so fully “Americanized,” they would be lost if they were returned to the now- foreign tongue and culture of their native lands.

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For example, not all entered the country in diapers. The DACA program extended to all who entered the country before they turned age 16. Those who entered the country as teens or “tweens” are certainly fluent in both the language and cultural norms of their home countries.

Indeed, the original DACA application form had a space for the name of the interpreter who helped the applicant complete the English language form. One study estimates that, today, just under a quarter of DACA beneficiaries are functionally illiterate in English and another 46 percent have only “basic” English ability.

What about education? The majority of DACA beneficiaries are now adults, but only 49 percent have a high school education.

Well, maybe they’re in the armed forces. After all, military service was a qualifying condition for DACA eligibility. Yet, the Pentagon reports that, among the current 690,000 DACA beneficiaries, only 900 are serving in the military. That’s less than half the number of DACA beneficiaries who have had their eligibility revoked because of criminal convictions and gang affiliations.

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DACA or Dreamer amnesty would also almost certainly spark a surge in legal immigration as well. Under current sponsorship rules, known as chain migration, the average new citizen sponsors 3.45 additional immigrants. Therefore, providing citizenship to DACA beneficiaries will lead to millions more receiving citizenship, including the parents of DACA beneficiaries — the adults who were responsible for their families’ violation of U.S. immigration laws in the first place. A DACA amnesty would thus doubly undermine the rule of law.

[Editor’s Note: A 12-minute interview with Hans von Spakovsky on WMAL from January 16 is available here. His full report, with references, is available here.]

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