Sunday, November 25, 2012

Data Point: How Many DREAM'ers Are There?


Buried in this eye-roll inducing story about the proto-typical "illegal immigrant college kid whose parents brought him to the US and is now threatened with deportation," (by the Big Bad Obama Administration!) is an interesting data point on Obama's much-hyped DREAM Act: there's actually not a lot of DREAM'ers out there eager to change their status:
The California Dream Act, passed in 2011, allows undocumented students who were brought to the United States when they were under 16 to apply for state aid at public universities and community colleges. President Obama enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in June. That program provides temporary, renewable work permits for unauthorized immigrants who are 30 years old or younger and were brought to the United States before age 16.
Through Oct. 10, nearly 180,000 people had applied for coverage under the federal program, and 4,591 had been approved, federal figures show. (emph. added).
 The immigrants advocates say that the small number of applications is due to young immigrants' "fears" of a possible Romney Administration which they thought would not only withdraw the program, but also deport everyone who came forward. Is there any seemingly baffling phenomenon that can't be explained by Evil Republican Racism?

Maybe DREAM'ers are just as wary of Pres. Obama, who could rescind his executive order just as easily as the never-neverland Pres. Romney, and had taken note of his chest-beating on the increase in deportations under his watch.

Less likely, but still plausible, maybe the DREAM'ers are budding constitutional scholars who suspect that Obama overstepped his bounds, and his executive order is vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. They may even be aware of Justice Jackson's levels of presidential power whereby the president's power is at its weakest when he acts without the support of, and in opposition against, Congress. Either way, it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of DREAM'ers suspect that Obama's executive order is not on very firm legal footing.

Maybe the numbers of potential DREAM'ers are not as great as we've lead ourselves to believe. After all, the sort of aspiring middle class types who would send their kids to college, or urge their kids to join the military - both DREAM requirements - are not as likely to be undocumented, but would make sure their immigration status was secure.

Maybe DREAM'ers are typical of the low-information voters in their cohort, and were only vaguely aware of the DREAM Act. Who says immigrants aren't assimilating?

Or, maybe the DREAM'ers recognized that the DREAM Act was less about them, and more about the activitsts and leftists who wanted Obama to have an applause line (Obama: "We have brought millions of DREAM'ers out of the shadows and into college and the workplace!" Assembled multitudes: "Yayyyyyy!") without accomplising all that much.

DREAM'ers are the low-hanging fruit of the immigration debate: photogenic, sympathetic people who just want to go to college and get ahead. They have little in common with the literally millions of uneducated, unassimilated people - most of them from a single country for no better reason than it shares our southern border - and who are the true source of America's immigration angst.

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