"Gunny" Bob distorted DREAM Act provision of proposed immigration bill

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Newsradio 850 KOA host "Gunny" Bob Newman became the latest Denver-based Clear Channel Communications Inc. radio personality to misrepresent a U.S. Senate immigration reform proposal. Newman claimed on his May 23 broadcast that a provision in the bill would "grant illegal aliens the right" to pay in-state tuition. In fact, the bill would give states the option of providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants but would not require them to do so.

Discussing proposed immigration reform legislation endorsed by U.S. Senate leaders and the Bush administration, "Gunny" Bob Newman of Newsradio 850 KOA distorted the college tuition provision known as "the DREAM Act." In addition to misleadingly calling the provision "Ted Kennedy's DREAM Act," Newman dubiously claimed that it would "grant illegal aliens the right to pay only ... in-state tuition fees." Newman, however, omitted the fact that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act merely would repeal a 1996 federal provision that bars states from providing in-state tuition to those "not lawfully present in the United States" unless the state also offers in-state tuition to all U.S. citizens or nationals regardless of residence.

Furthermore, while Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) remains an ardent proponent of the DREAM Act, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) sponsored a version of the legislation in 2003 and has supported it ever since.

From the May 23 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:

NEWMAN: Oh, by the way, Ted Kennedy's DREAM Act -- it's called his DREAM Act, d-r-e-a-m -- is part of the amnesty bill; he worked it into the bill. What is Ted Kennedy's DREAM Act? It will grant illegal aliens the right to pay only resident -- in-state, in other words -- in-state tuition fees, while non-state resident U.S. citizens applying for college in another state will have to pay out-of-state tuition. How come these politicians think you should have to pay more for your kid's education than illegal alien criminals?

In fact, as Colorado Media Matters has noted, the DREAM Act as incorporated into Senate Bill 1348 would confer no specific rights upon illegal immigrants, but rather would repeal a provision of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) that currently discourages states from providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. As the National Immigration Law Center noted in its summary of the provision, the bill would restore to states the option of providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants but would not require states to do so.

Newman is the latest Denver-based Clear Channel Communications Inc. radio personality to distort provisions of S. 1348. As Colorado Media Matters noted (here and here), Peter Boyles and Mike Rosen have similarly mischaracterized the bill. Newman also asserted on his May 18 broadcast that S. 1348 "is going to kill people."

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