By SCOTT WONG, Politico
Senate Republicans and their conservative allies are sharpening their attacks on the proposed DREAM Act that would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants, declaring it would give â€œamnestyâ€ to millionsÂ â€” some of them criminals.
The legislation, which would apply to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, has been overshadowed by other big-ticket items on the lame-duck congressional calendar. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are now pushing for votes on it this year.
Already, GOP staffers have begun circulating to senators and conservative groups a white paper outlining what they see as the social and financial costs of passing the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
â€œIn addition to immediately putting an estimated 2.1 million illegal immigrants (including certain criminal aliens) on a path to citizenship, the DREAM Act would give them access to in-state tuition rates at public universities, federal student loans and federal work-study programs,â€ said the research paper, being distributed by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The paper adds that those who obtain legal status under the DREAM Act would have the right to seek naturalization for their family members, including the parents who illegally brought them to the U.S. as children.
â€œIn less than a decade, this reality could easily double or triple the more than 2.1 million green cards that will be immediately distributed as a result of the DREAM Act,â€ the paper states.
The Heritage Foundation, one of many conservative groups that have received a copy of the paper,Â isÂ also pumping out information about what it sees as flaws in the proposed law. The foundation is sending out research papersÂ to its 700,000 members and posting blogs written by its analysts.
â€œPeople do not want to degrade our immigration laws further, and thatâ€™s what the DREAM Act would do,â€ said Jena Baker McNeill, a homeland security policy analyst at Heritage. â€œWeâ€™re just being honest what the bill is: It seems like a good bill until you look and see itâ€™s very much an amnesty bill that will encourage people to come here illegally.â€