Fox News distorts Dream Act

Fox News claimed that the Dream Act would give citizenship to certain unauthorized immigrants and that the legislation creates “an illegal alien student preference program.” In fact, the proposal would provide conditional permanent residency status, not citizenship, to those eligible, and it does not give Dream Act students a “preference” over citizens and other legal permanent residents.

Megyn Kelly falsely claimed Dream Act gives citizenship to eligible unauthorized immigrants

Kelly: Dream Act “would basically give kids citizenship.” From the November 11 edition of America Live:

MEGYN KELLY (HOST): I should have pointed out in the introduction to you that the Dream Act would provide a path to citizenship -- or would basically give kids citizenship to those who came to this country illegally before they were 16.

The idea is your parents brought you over and now you want to serve in the military, you want to go to college and we're going to make you a citizen, but there are all sorts of issues associated with that as you point out.

In fact, Dream Act would allow eligible immigrants to apply for “conditional permanent resident status.” The versions of the Dream Act legislation pending in the House and Senate both state that eligible unauthorized immigrants could have their status adjusted to “conditional permanent resident status” which “shall be valid for a period of 6 years” and subject to termination should the individual cease to be eligible. Conditional permanent resident status is only available under the Dream Act to those who were under 16 years of age when they came to the country, have good moral character, and have earned a high school diploma/GED or been admitted to an institution of higher education.

Dream Act students and military personnel could not apply for citizenship until after obtaining permanent resident status. Following the six-year conditional period, the individual could petition for permanent residence and would not be eligible unless they maintained good moral character, remain law abiding, and either acquired a degree from an institution of higher learning, completed at least two years toward a bachelor's degree, or served in the uniformed services for at least two years. The legislation states that those who had their status adjusted under the Dream Act could not apply for citizenship until the conditional basis is removed from their permanent resident status.

If Dream Act-eligible immigrants do not maintain their status, they again become deportable. The legislation provides that if people who have conditional permanent resident status under the Dream Act commit certain crimes, fail to maintain good moral character, receive a dishonorable discharge from the military or become a “public charge,” their status is terminated, and they return to the legal status they previously had. Furthermore, if they apply for permanent residency and are rejected, they lose their conditional permanent residency.

Michelle Malkin falsely claimed Dream Act creates “illegal alien student preference program”

Malkin: Dream Act provides “an illegal alien student preference program.” From the November 11 edition of America Live:

MICHELLE MALKIN (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): If you look at the details, it's very worrisome and it should be to all law-abiding people, I don't care what your party is. The idea of enticing and incentivizing illegal aliens to join the military as a path to citizenship raises a lot of troubling national security questions.

The fraud mechanisms are weak in this -- in both the Senate and House bills. There's no age ceiling on the House bill when it comes to the illegal alien student bailout part of it. And then folks who are as old as 15 who already have plenty of roots in their home countries would be able to avail themselves of what essentially is an illegal alien student preference program.

They would not be able to qualify for Pell grants but they would be able to be right in line competing with law-abiding citizens and permanent residents of this country who followed the rules for things like work-study programs and other federal scholarships.

Previously, Malkin falsely claimed Dream Act gives unauthorized immigrations “a special discount for in-state tuition.” Appearing on Fox & Friends on September 16, Malkin claimed that the Dream Act “give[s] illegal aliens a leg up over every other law abiding citizen or naturalized American, anyone else who is following the law -- a special discount for in-state tuition.” In fact, the Dream Act lets states, not the federal government, decide whether to allow unauthorized immigrants residing within its borders to qualify for in-state tuition like all the other residents.

Dream Act does not give eligible students a special “preference” over citizens or permanent residents. As the Congressional Research Service explained in a February 3 report, unlike other legal permanent residents, Dream Act students would have restricted access to federal student financial aid. CRS stated of the Senate bill:

S. 729 would place restrictions on the eligibility of aliens who adjust to LPR status under its provisions for federal student financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Under that act, LPRs and certain other eligible noncitizens may receive federal financial aid. Aliens adjusting status under S. 729, however, would be eligible only for student loans, federal work-study programs, and services (such as counseling, tutorial services, and mentoring), subject to the applicable requirements. Unlike other LPRs, they would be ineligible for federal Pell Grants or federal supplemental educational opportunity grants.

CRS further stated that these restrictions would be temporary under the House bill:

H.R. 1751 would place temporary restrictions on the eligibility of aliens who adjusted to LPR status under its provisions, for federal student financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Aliens adjusting status under the bill would be ineligible for federal Pell Grants and federal supplemental educational opportunity grants while in conditional permanent resident status. Once the conditional basis was removed and they became full-fledged LPRs, these restrictions would no longer apply. By contrast, under S. 774, as discussed above, these restrictions would be permanent.