Three Senate Republicans, badly misreading the November Hispanic voting tea leaves, have in misguided desperation reincarnated the DREAM Act. The new not-so-cleaver name is ACHIEVE and was introduced last month by two retiring senators, Texas’ Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Arizona’s John Kyl and the suddenly omnipresent Florida Senator Marco Rubio. No immigration conversation is complete without Rubio weighing in with his usually flawed opinion. [GOP Working on DREAM Act Alternative, Called ACHIEVE Act, by Katrina Trinko, National Review, November 15, 2012]
Brief review: Romney’s defeat did not come because of the Hispanic vote. A New York Times blog detailed how Romney would have lost several key swing states like Ohio and Florida even if he had received anywhere from 75 to 100 percent of the Hispanic vote. The blog, read it here, concluded that:
" …for any Republicans crafting a strategy that focuses solely on Hispanic voters and immigration policy in order to win back the White House in 2016, they may want to re-examine this year’s exit poll results."
Nevertheless, with considerable pomp and circumstance, Republicans introduced Achieve even though it will not get any traction in the Senate where the hard core Democrats led by majority leader Harry Reid insist on eventual citizenship, a feature not included in the Hutchinson-Kyl-Rubio legislation.
Although it doesn’t offer citizenship to alien students, the rest of ACHIEVE is the same old DREAM Act amnesty cloaked in sheep’s clothing. That should come as no surprise since Kyl voted for the original 2003 DREAM Act and Hutchinson voted for the 2007 version.
ACHIEVE would create yet another non-immigrant visa, the W-1, that would be valid for up to 6 years. During that period, students must earn a degree (bachelor’s, associate’s, vocational or advance or perform 4 years of military service. Assuming one of those plateaus are reached, the student moves up to W-2 status and qualifies for four more years of work or study at which point they would receive a W-3 permanent resident visa. From the point that the W-1 is issued, the holders would be fully authorized to work—more competition for 23 million underemployed/unemployed Americans.
ACHIEVE would benefit a small handful of aliens at the expense of native-born and unemployed Americans. At the same time, ACHIEVE incentivizes more illegal immigration.
In his press conference Senator Kyl, whose immigration position has varied widely during his 25 years in Congress, acknowledged that ACHIEVE has no chance. If ACHIEVE is doomed and also not likely, as the Times noted, to impress Hispanic voters, why bother?
I can’t answer. But, as I predicted in my July 7, 2011 CAPS blog, the DREAM Act will need major citizen activism to kill it off. Read my blog here.
Remind your representatives how unpopular the DREAM/ACHIEVE Acts are by FAXing through the CAPS Legislative Alert here.