The ACHIEVE Act: Too much and too little?

posted at 4:01 pm on November 17, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Earlier this week, Allahpundit broke out a first look at the GOP alternative to the DREAM Act, which Republicans apparently began working on before the ink was even dry on the Obama win headlines. Since that time, the draft has been making the rounds on the Hill and more people have had time to kick the tires on it a bit. Now being called the ACHIEVE Act, it proposes some alterations to current Visa status (the W-1 Visa) which would offer different people varying paths to citizenship over a period of time providing they achieved certain goals or met specific criteria. From the original Matt Lewis article which AP linked, here are a few of those details.

  • W-1 visa status would allow an immigrant to attend college or serve in the military (they have six years to get a degree). After doing so, they would be eligible to apply for a four-year nonimmigrant work visa (also can be used for graduate degrees.)
  • Next, applicants would be eligible to apply for a permanent visa (no welfare benefits.) Finally, after a set number of years, citizenship “could follow…”
  • “Applicant must have lived in the U.S. for five year’s prior to the Act’s enactment”;
  • Must have entered the country before age 14
  • Must have good moral character
  • “Applicant must not have committed a felony, must not have committed more than one misdemeanor with a jail term of more than 30 days, must not have committed a crime of moral turpitude, and must not have a final order of removal pending”‘
  • Must have knowledge of the English language, U.S. history, “and of principles of U.S. government”
  • Applicant must be 28 or younger at time of application (or 32 if they have a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college);
  • Must pay a $525 fee
  • Must submit to a medical exam and a background check, submit biometric and biographic data, and register with the Selective Service.

I have a couple of thoughts on this, but first let’s hear from Mark Krikorian at The Corner, who has a rather curious take on the proposal.

My concerns with the newly leaked alternative to the DREAM Act, which Katrina outlined below, is that it’s at once too restrictive and too expansive.

On the restrictive side, the proposal would limit the amnesty to those who earn a degree or serve in the military for four years. This means that someone who was brought here at three months old, has lived nowhere else, and knows no Spanish, but just isn’t bookish (or fit for the military) would be excluded. Since the humanitarian rationale for some version of the DREAM Act is that it would legalize those whose identities have been formed here and who are psychologically and emotionally Americans, this limitation seems to me inappropriate, even unjust…

But the Rubio draft is also too expansive in a number of ways. First, it sets the age of initial (illegal) entry to before the 15th birthday. That’s better than 16, as in the original DREAM Act, but since the rationale for the law is to legalize those who really have no memory of any other country, people who came as teenagers are simply not appropriate candidates for the amnesty. Lowering the age of initial entry to seven (the age of reason in canon and common law), or at least to ten, would be much more defensible.

He has more on each side of the ACHIEVE Act’s deficiencies, so read the rest. For me, this is something of a mixed bag. I’ve always been of the opinion that successful, honorable military service where you keep your nose clean and do your job is one of – if not the only – exceptions where it seems viable to give people “head of the line” privileges in terms of naturalization. But this proposal seems to simply lump them in with everyone else. If we’re going to do this, I wouldn’t put the veterans on a ten year or more path after discharge. The long delay times and varying classes of legal, non-citizen status ameliorate some of the damage, as opposed to an immediate promotion to citizenship while allowing them to get on the books, pay taxes and contribute. But only some.

This process doesn’t remove the inherently unfair nature of allowing those who broke the rules to live here in America, safe inside the system, while those who remain outside attempting to do it the right way are still kept out, living in whatever conditions they seek to escape. Maybe it’s a solution, but it’s not a fair one, in my opinion.

I also do not equate “going to college” here with serving in the military in terms of service and sacrifice to the nation you wish to join. Getting an education to better yourself is admirable to be sure, but it’s simply not on par with putting on a uniform and spending four or six years risking your life for your new country in a war zone.

And, “good moral character?” What does that mean and who is the judge of it? Howard Stern?

The phrase, “Must have knowledge of the English language, U.S. history, and of principles of U.S. government” isn’t a show stopper, but I’d definitely want to see the full definitions of what is required to make it over that bar.

And last, I definitely agree with Krikorian that setting the maximum age of entry at 14 is too high. I thought the main idea here was for the proposed act to embrace those brought here by their parents with no control of their own, raised in our country and living in our society with our values. Right here in the United States, by the age of 14 we have kids in more economically disadvantaged areas who are already fully enmeshed in gang life and doing jail time by the age of 14. I too would put the cap at around seven years of age, with preference given to those who arrived as infants and toddlers.

All in all, we may be on the path to passing something like this to a degree where this bell can’t be unrung. But even if so, it needs to be approached intelligently and fairly. I don’t know if this first draft is anywhere near that level yet.


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Why must we be so soft as a country? Is this from giving women the vote? Someone breaks into your home, you set him a table and offer him food and drink? And then he quickly graduates from being a guest in your home, to being a resident, to belonging there?

I don’t give a crap WHO are the illegal immigrants who break the law to come here. Black, brown, yellow. Hispanic, Haitian, or members of the Swedish bikini team. They should all be treated the same. That is the Constitution! The rule of law! If you come here legally, and have something to offer, then we welcome you with open arms. Otherwise, piss off.

Paul-Cincy on November 17, 2012 at 4:12 PM

The GOP will betray you

True_King on November 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Notice how now one puts a price on the cost of their proposals or states clearly that the deportation of the parents will be impossible and is in fact de facto amnesty for the parents. I do not see the fact that we paid to educate these people as a loss of capability as much as a theft from the taxpayer.

You can not afford a social welfare state much less so when you allow the uneducated from foreign countries entry at will.

aniptofar on November 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM

S.E.A.L. t.h.e. f.r.e.a.k.i.n.g. b.o.r.d.e.r.!!!!

Otherwise all you republican leaders/thinkers are just going to hand Texas over to the Democrats like you did California 20 years ago.

Are the gop leaders just stupid or is this just all part of the plan to destroy the country?

So ignorant.

PappyD61 on November 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Let’s see the debate! I’m sick and tired of seeing a discussion that starts with idea that we must grant full no-penalty amnesty to little brown criminals.

Happy Nomad on November 17, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Seal the border.
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Seal the border.

What part of this do you ignorant slut republicans not understand?

PappyD61 on November 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

I also do not equate “going to college” here with serving in the military in terms of service and sacrifice to the nation you wish to join. Getting an education to better yourself is admirable to be sure, but it’s simply not on par with putting on a uniform and spending four or six years risking your life for your new country in a war zone.

I concur.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on November 17, 2012 at 4:22 PM

The GOP fails to understand the financial inplications of a DREAM/AHIEVE Act or amnesty. Once these people become citizens (as well as the fact that 70%+ will vote Drmocratic).

bw222 on November 17, 2012 at 4:33 PM

This means that someone who was brought here at three months old, has lived nowhere else, and knows no Spanish, but just isn’t bookish (or fit for the military) would be excluded.

That statement presumes that the parents and relatives all spoke fluent, idiomatic English at all times. Really????

catsandbooks on November 17, 2012 at 4:33 PM

I’ve always been of the opinion that successful, honorable military service where you keep your nose clean and do your job is one of – if not the only – exceptions where it seems viable to give people “head of the line” privileges in terms of naturalization.

I don’t think, and I certainly hope I’m right, that most people who go into the military do it to try to create two classes of citizens.

VorDaj on November 17, 2012 at 4:35 PM

So here’s my question: why is it so hard/expensive/time-consuming to become a citizen? People want to come to the US for many reasons, one of the chief of which is because they’re poor, then why do we tolerate a system that is so expensive to navigate?

Mohonri on November 17, 2012 at 4:35 PM

The Republican party going to once again pander and get absolutely nothing out of it. They never, ever learn. I hope they enjoy the new constituents they think they are going to get, because they are going to lose many of the current base.

If they are going to become the democrat party lite, why would any conservative vote for them? We already have that option.

De Oppresso Liber on November 17, 2012 at 4:36 PM

I’ve always been of the opinion that successful, honorable military service where you keep your nose clean and do your job is one of – if not the only – exceptions where it seems viable to give people “head of the line” privileges in terms of naturalization.

This is a philosophy that is beneath and should be repugnant to America.

VorDaj on November 17, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Must be proficient in the English language, U.S. history, “and of principles of U.S. government”
Applicant must be 28 or younger at time of application (or 32 if they have a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college);
Must pay a $5250 fee

FIFY if that is the way they are going. They should be closing the borders, and sending them back to their home countries.

I have no idea why someone in the congress hasn’t called BS on what they like to call this, immigration reform. It is nothing of the sort. Our immigration policies don’t need reforming, they need ENFORCING! As many who comment here have said, this is amnesty once again, nothing more. It has been done seven times before, and we still have 12-20 million illegals in the USA.

·The 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act blanket amnesty for an estimated 2.7 million illegal aliens

·1994: The “Section 245(i)” temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens

·1997: Extension of the Section 245(i) amnesty

·1997: The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act for nearly one million illegal aliens from Central America

·1998: The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti

·2000: Extension of amnesty for some 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed eligibility under the 1986 act

·2000: The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act, which included a restoration of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty for 900,000 illegal aliens]

The only thing this ACHIEVE’s is giving the democrats one of their long held positions on immigration, open borders. And it also solidifies their voting block in the coming years.

Patriot Vet on November 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM

In every case a legal American should be given hiring preference over any illegals who are being given a meal ticket by obama. When the real Americans have been given first chance then the freeloaders can pick up the scraps. Sadly the American children arrive with worthless degrees, no work ethic, and outrageous salary expectations, so they will feel the brunt of voting for obama right off. I have no sympathy for them. The smart illegals will get their free degrees, and land good jobs where they will work hard and hire other smart illegals and the white middle class will sink into oblivion. A self inflicted wound.
But at least let the small portion of hard working Americans get a shot first. Also when a layoff occurs democrats go first as they are responsible for the destruction of the US economy.

frizzbee on November 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM

End birthright citizenship!

Loyalty to the US must be first and foremost.

RedRobin145 on November 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Republicans need to sit down, pull out the exit poll data, and take a good look at who their base is and how to empower and strengthen that base.

Punchenko on November 17, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Why is it we feel necessary to bend WAY OVER BACKWARDS to please people who broke our laws coming here?

It is still the old “Give me your tired, your poor……”? BECAUSE THOSE PEOPLE CAME HERE LEGALLY.

Here’s a thought. Lets send 12 MILLION people to a another country and tell them we’re just walking right in and will start demanding treatment as equals.

Want to bet the word INVASION would not be featured prominently in their press?

And if you want to talk CULTURE, that word does feature in the press of other nations when they talk about FOREIGNERS coming in to work.

GarandFan on November 17, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Where’s the part about the fence being built/finished before we even agree to have a conversation about this?

lynncgb on November 17, 2012 at 4:53 PM

A few things…STOP GIVING THEM FREEBIES!

Stop all the subsidies, exemption from Obamacare, prosecute business owners hiring illegals, and let them know that they now owe the $16 trillion debt. You’ll see there won’t be many who still want to become a citizen.

moonsbreath on November 17, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Republicans need to sit down, pull out the exit poll data, and take a good look at who their base is and how to empower and strengthen that base.

There isn’t going to be much of a base if they do this. Next election, we do like the Hispanics did this time. Don’t vote for the GOP and then we’ll get what we want. Pretty darn quick too it seems.

lynncgb on November 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

This means that someone who was brought here at three months old, has lived nowhere else, and knows no Spanish, but just isn’t bookish (or fit for the military) would be excluded.

That statement presumes that the parents and relatives all spoke fluent, idiomatic English at all times. Really????

catsandbooks on November 17, 2012 at 4:33 PM

It’s possible. During the Texas Republican Senate runoff this year, David Dewhurst challenged Ted Cruz to a debate in Spanish. Mr. Cruz, when pressed by Martha MacCallum on Fox, fessed up that he turned down the debate because he doesn’t know too much Spanish. Of course, he won anyway.

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on November 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM

End this military service fetish.

Fact is, the military is being drawn down significantly, to the point where Americans who still want to serve will be discharged. A slot in the military isn’t some kind of throw away that only an illegal would take, it’s exceedingly valuable and should be reserved for Americans.

Seal the border, impliment national E-Verify, make knowingly hiring an illegal a felony – and watch them self deport in droves.

Rebar on November 17, 2012 at 5:11 PM

I don’t give a crap WHO are the illegal immigrants who break the law to come here. Black, brown, yellow. Hispanic, Haitian, or members of the Swedish bikini team. They should all be treated the same. That is the Constitution! The rule of law! If you come here legally, and have something to offer, then we welcome you with open arms. Otherwise, piss off.

Paul-Cincy on November 17, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Screw the Constitution, we need a humanitarian exception for Swedish bikini team.

Archivarix on November 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM

I will not support any politician who signs an Immigration Bill that does not contain the following:
1. Seal the Border tight, drones, live patrols and additional crossing points that are guarded.
2. Guest Worker Program that allows ONLY workers, not their families.
3. Must pass an English test, driving test in English, or agree to an English as Second language classes to be completed in six months or out they go.
4. Commit a felony in the first five years, deportation goes with the punishment, one not three or twenty, one strike and out you go.
5. Immigrants must have a skill that we need, no skill, no education, no come here.
4. No Government assistance for ten years other than Student Loans and Pell Grants.

old war horse on November 17, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Here’s an idea for the gop leadership in congress….

Stop squirting the warm milk of the Federal sow towards those on the Southern border and you won’t lose elections!!!

Obama’s margin of victory was probably pretty close to the real number of illegals that were legalized and given citizenship over the last 26 years.

We on the right are truly house slaves for the moderate/progressive gop leadership in D.C.

They rattle our chains every 2 years with their “outrages” and we respond like we just waiting for the call and there we go. Will we ever learn?

PappyD61 on November 17, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Jazz,

Thanks for pointing out the ridiculous nature of equating a cushy college stay to military service.

I, however, would be interested in you or anyone else addressing the associated identity theft – illegal immigrants use stolen SSNs for work (as well as medical services and credit) . In Utah alone there are an estimated 50,000 child victims of such theft (who knows how many adults).

I have never seen anything in any proposal that deals with this. Everyone seems to want to sweep it under the rug and let victims deal with the repercussions – proponents won’t even require SSN used be disclosed and victims informed at the very least. It’s disgusting.

batter on November 17, 2012 at 5:37 PM

These chicken-s politicians must hope a bump in population will allow them to kick the SSI/Medicare can down the road a touch further = until they are out of office. They know this country has failed, so why do any heavy lifting that may cost them their cushy whore-laden jobs?

My only consolation is the hope that one day they will be chased through the streets by angry mobs wielding pitchforks and torches. Their eyes will be wide with primal terror as they are hunted like animals. People who foist unconstitutional slavery like Obamacare on us, while exempting themselves, deserve no better.

Kungfoochimp on November 17, 2012 at 5:41 PM

What is so hard about enforcing the law?

davidk on November 17, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Have things changed since I enlisted in the military in the ’80′s?

I had to have a birth certificate.

Russ in OR on November 17, 2012 at 5:49 PM

…here’s an idea they have not done for decades now…ENFORCE THE FLUKING LAW!
I keep thinking Americans…everyone of them should not pay their “civil fines” until they enforce the laws along the border…
every community in the country would then be screaming to Washington!

KOOLAID2 on November 17, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Why must we be so soft as a country? Is this from giving women the vote? Someone breaks into your home, you set him a table and offer him food and drink? And then he quickly graduates from being a guest in your home, to being a resident, to belonging there?

I don’t give a crap WHO are the illegal immigrants who break the law to come here. Black, brown, yellow. Hispanic, Haitian, or members of the Swedish bikini team. They should all be treated the same. That is the Constitution! The rule of law! If you come here legally, and have something to offer, then we welcome you with open arms. Otherwise, piss off.

Paul-Cincy on November 17, 2012 at 4:12 PM

You obviously never heard of the Hot Babe amendment to the Constitution. It works like the Cuban deal. Once they hit dry land, they’re good to go.

Alabama Infidel on November 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

I would like it to also say “must not have illegally voted in US elections.”

slickwillie2001 on November 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

I do not understand the rationale of letting foreign nationals serve in our armed forces. Isn’t that a national security risk? Certainly most will serve admirably and become good citizens but how long before terrorist take advantage of this loophole?

hopeful on November 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

This is going to be the dumbest debate ever. How do these idiots propose to verify any of this, when we’re dealing with people whose entire lives are based on fraudulent documentation? Not that it matters anyways, because we know that Obama will grant them citizenship with or without Congressional action.

Progressive Heretic on November 17, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Leaving aside the fact that this is pandering BS dressing up a federal crime as the new normal..

“Must have knowledge of the English language, U.S. history, and of principles of U.S. government”

I’d wager 75% of Congress and 90% of legal residents wouldn’t pass the basic test I’d administer to verify that requirement.

It’s also missing a key component – must have knowledge of Logic 101 e.g. be able to explain why ‘We have to pass it to know what’s in it’ is fundamentally illogical.

CorporatePiggy on November 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM

do I get lubed first or is it just a kiss then the screwing?

dmacleo on November 17, 2012 at 7:52 PM

You can not afford a social welfare state much less so when you allow the uneducated from foreign countries entry at will.

aniptofar on November 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Too late. That boat sailed and has already hit the iceberg.

GWB on November 18, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Is this from giving women the vote?
Paul-Cincy on November 17, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Yea, that has GOT to be it!/sarc.

guera on November 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM

True Story: I was born in Canada, but my mother was an American and we moved to the US when I was in high school. My mother took care of getting us declared US citizens within the first year. I had my paper declaring I was a citizen from birth-which the DO NOT MAKE RECORD of.

Fast forward to the changes in Utah drivers license laws and now all my past driving record, other records would not do, I needed that paper that I could not track down due to a new marriage and move. I had to jump through hoops, a finally decided a US passport my cheapest and fastest way to try to prove I had a right to drive here.

It took months and money to get my stuff together- I guess I could ave chosen to take one of the other types of licenses, but I wanted what I had all along. I took my paperwork and MOTHER down to our city center, where the office to turn in my paperwork was manned by .. yes.. you guessed it some one very Latino..and not able to speak English well.

When I told her the homework I did, and why she at first said I was wrong, I said I was not, it was on the passport website, and that I new we also needed some kind of paperwork from my mother detailing her life BEFORE I was born. Mind you folks this all during the Obama “I won’t produce my birth certificate” nonsense trying to be President of the United states-I just wanted a valid drivers license as this deadline was coming up.

she said you were a naturalized Citizen. I said. no.. I was declared a citizen as foreign born children can be.. she looked again like we were nuts.

I so wanted to grab my mother and say “You know Anchor babies? This is my ANCHOR MAMA !!! You think because I am of Swedish/English background and I speak English I have less of a right to be here?”

fortunately she ad to turn in te paperwork… we got the right document sent to us for my mother to fill out.

but why did I have to work so hard for a driver’s license and Obama gets a pass on all his documents?? I don’t get it.

Noelie on November 18, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Has anyone read the book “Starship Troopers” by Heinlein? Says alot for having to put some stake into actually earning your franchise.

American Patriot1980 on November 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM