Another proposed GOP measure, introduced Nov. 27 and dubbed the Achieve Act, would offer work permits to many illegal immigrants younger than 30. (RELATED VIDEO: Republican senators explain difficulty in drafting Dream Act alternative)
The Senate bill would immediately help many of the younger illegal immigrants, but it is opposed by progressives and UWD because it would not offer citizenship to the younger immigrants and would deny them the eventual ability to bring additional relatives into the country.
The Achieve proposal is “Dream-lite … [and] we find that to be cynical,” Praeli said.
Some advocates for reduced immigration say these modest reforms would sap support for progressives’ mass-amnesty goal.
Modest reforms, including an updated Dream Act, would “reduce [amnesty advocates’] pressure on Republicans, giving them something to point to on immigration,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
They also “take the most sympathetic groups [of illegal immigrants] off the tables … [including] science graduates and illegals who came as children,” Krikorian said.
But the small-scale reforms are dismissed by UWD, even though — if passed — they could provide rapid benefits to the younger illegals that the group claims to represent.
The rival alternatives of small reforms versus a mass amnesty is “really a false choice,” Jimenez said.
“That’s the way the politicians in D.C. want to frame the debate,” she said.
Every delay in passing youth amnesty means that many young immigrants remain illegal, and that some illegals become too old to qualify for amnesty.