Malkin fudges facts in crusade against the Dream Act

Conservative columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin forwarded numerous false attacks against the Dream Act, which would provide a path to legal status for certain immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Malkin launches series of attacks on Dream Act

From Malkin's November 17 blog post, titled: “Stop the illegal alien student bailout”:

Stalwart immigration enforcement supporter Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will be circulating an alert about the Dems' DREAM Act nightmare emphasizing some of the following critical points:

1) The illegal alien student bailout will NOT be limited to “children” -- but, in fact, would put illegal aliens in their 30s and 40s on a “path to citizenship.” Taxpayers “would also be on the hook for all federal benefits the DREAM Act seeks to offer illegal aliens, including student loans and grants.

2) The DREAM Act provides safe harbor for any alien, including criminals, from being removed or deported if they simply submit an application.

3) Certain criminal aliens, including gang members, deportation fugitives, and those who have committed voter fraud or marriage fraud, would be eligible for DREAM Act amnesty.

4) An estimated 2.1 million illegal aliens will be eligible for DREAM Act amnesty.

5) Illegal aliens would be eligible for in-state tuition benefits under Section 3.

6) The DREAM Act does not require that amnesty beneficiaries actually finish any type of degree as a condition for ”path to citizenship" benefits.

Where do your Senators stand on the illegal alien student bailout -- which President Obama is openly pushing as a “down payment” on a larger shamnesty? Ask them. Get them on record. And spread the word.

Malkin claimed Dream Act allows “illegal aliens” to obtain federal education “grants”

CRS: Unauthorized immigrants “are ineligible for federal financial aid” under 1965 law. As the Congressional Research Service explained in a February 3 report, unauthorized immigrants “are ineligible for federal financial aid” under the Higher Education Act of 1965:

Unauthorized aliens are neither entitled to nor prohibited from admission to postsecondary educational institutions in the United States. To gain entrance to these institutions, these students must meet the same requirements as any other student, which vary depending on the institution and may include possessing a high school diploma, passing entrance exams, and surpassing a high school grade point average (GPA) threshold. Although admissions applications for most colleges and universities request that students provide their Social Security numbers, this information typically is not required for admission.

Even if they are able to gain admission, however, unauthorized alien students often find it difficult, if not impossible, to pay for higher education. Under the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended, they are ineligible for federal financial aid. In most instances, unauthorized alien students are likewise ineligible for state financial aid. Furthermore, as explained in the next section, they also may be ineligible for in-state tuition.

The Dream Act would not change the 1965 law stating that unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for federal student aid.

In fact, even those who obtain legal status under Dream Act would still have limited access to federal student aid. As the Congressional Research Service explained in a February 3 report, unlike other legal permanent residents, those who obtain legal permanent resident status under the Dream Act would would have restricted access to federal student financial aid. Under the Senate bill, they would not have access to Pell Grants or opportunity grants. From CRS:

S. 729 would place restrictions on the eligibility of aliens who adjust to LPR [legal permanent resident] 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 the restrictions on Pell Grants and opportunity grants 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.

Malkin claimed Dream Act provides in-state tuition benefits for “illegal aliens”

Dream Act does not grant in-state tuition benefits to unauthorized immigrants. In fact, the bill would affirm that states have the authority to decide who is eligible for college benefits based on residency. Section 3 of the Dream Act legislation in the House and Senate, “Restoration of state option to determine residency for purposes of higher education benefits,” would repeal Section 505 of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, passed during a period of particularly high anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. As the Congressional Research Service explained in a February 3 report, the 1996 law:

prohibits states from granting unauthorized aliens certain post secondary educational benefits on the basis of state residence, unless equal benefits are made available to all U.S. citizens. This prohibition is commonly understood to apply to the granting of “in-state” residency status for tuition purposes.

Malkin claimed Dream Act could provide “safe harbor” for criminals from being deported if they submit application

Immigration attorney: Those who can't prove “good moral character” are “excluded from the application procedure.” David Leopold, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told Media Matters in an email:

It is specious to claim that the Dream Act provides a “safe harbor for any alien, including criminals, from being removed or deported if they simply submit an application.” The claim is based on a provision which prohibits the removal of any alien who has a pending Dream Act application. But the Bill also makes clear that only “eligible” aliens may apply. Criminals and others who cannot prove they have good moral character are ineligible for the Dream Act and, therefore, clearly excluded from the application procedure. The Dream Act offers them no safe harbor from deportation.

Anyone who is not lawfully present can be deported if their Dream Act application is rejected. Malkin is likely referring to provisions in the House and Senate bills stating that “The Secretary of Homeland Security may not remove any alien who has a pending application for conditional status under this Act.” However, nothing in the bill requires the government to allow people whose Dream Act applications are rejected to remain in this country.

Malkin claimed “certain criminal aliens” including “gang members” and “deportation fugitives” would be eligible for legal status

Dream Act requires that applicants have “good moral character.” The Dream Act sets several requirements that an individual would have to meet in order to qualify for conditional permanent resident status:

-They must have been present in the U.S. for 5 years immediately preceding the enactment of the Dream Act

-They must have been under the age of 16 when they first came to the U.S.

-They must have “good moral character”

-They must not be inadmissible or deportable for various criminal offenses, including: crimes of “moral turpitude,” crimes involving controlled substances and human trafficking, or if they were a security risk

-They must have earned a high school diploma/GED or been admitted to an institution of higher education.

Senate bill specifically says deportation fugitives are not eligible for legal status. The Senate Dream Act bill states that an individual is eligible for conditional permanent resident status under if he or she “has never been under a final administrative of judicial order of exclusion, deportation or removal, unless the alien - (i) has remained in the United States under color of law after such an order was issued; or (ii) received the order before attaining the age of 16 years.”