Immigration Law

DREAM or NIGHTMARE? Why Congress Should Reject a Military-Only Version of the DREAM Act


"Problems with a military-only DREAM Act range from the practical to the philosophical. For example, Representative Rivera’s bill would require people to enlist within nine months; otherwise they would lose their eligibility under the bill. The bill fails to realize, however, that people can’t start the enlistment process until they are legal and have a social security number. It can take longer than nine months to complete the enlistment process, and the military services have annual quotas that get filled quickly when the economy is bad, forcing people into the next fiscal year.

In addition, some potential enlistees may fail to qualify for medical reasons. Suppose someone gets temporary status under the Rivera bill, tries to enlist, and turns out to be colorblind. Do we tell them, "Sorry, we are deporting you because you are colorblind. No refund of the immigration fees you paid to start the DREAM Act process"?

The call for a military-only DREAM Act also poses moral problems. It effectively tells undocumented noncitizens that they are only useful for war, not for improving our economy through their hard work or inspiring the next generation by teaching in our schools. Those professions are just as noble as fighting for our country. As a new book, Green Card Stories, points out, people who legalize their status help this country in a variety of important ways." - Steve Yale-Loehr, Feb. 11, 2012.