Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ohh Nooo! Say it is not so! DREAM Act dies in Senate

Let's start this post by acknowledging the life and service of recently deceased Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, his recent death in the line of duty is a tragedy.

However having read some of the early reporting done on this has proven to be frustrating as some commentators have tried to conflate agent Terry's death with the current debate on the DREAM Act in congress.

It is necessary to highlight this particular disconnect because opponents of immigration reform have become so skilled at putting border security and pretty much any other legislation that tries to address immigration reform at odds.

It can not be said enough, border security is a component, an important one for reform, there are others, including figuring out what to do with the current 11 million people currently here. It is not impossible to do more then one at a time.

Michele Malkin, has released a blog hit entitled A dream denied: Border Patrol agent Brian Terry killed in Arizona. There is nothing wrong with the first part of this post, it is a simple explanation of what has occurred with a link to a USA Today story on what occurred in Rio Rico, Arizona:

A Border Patrol agent was shot and killed Tuesday night near Rio Rico after encountering several suspects, federal authorities said Wednesday. Agent Brian Terry was killed just 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, north of Nogales. Four suspects are in custody and one is being pursued, according to a press release from Customs and Border Protection. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.

The above quote accurately presents all of the current information provided by Department of Homeland Security regarding the circumstances of Agent Terry's death. It is her next sentence that is egregious:

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats continue to push the pro-amnesty DREAM Act and security-undermining environmental land grabs. Priorities…

As someone who follows Immigration issues, and the DREAM Act in particular on a daily basis, the connection between the current legislation before the Senate and the death of a border patrol agent is baffling. These two issues have nothing to do with each other. For one thing the citizenship of the four suspects is not currently known. A fact corroborated by Fox News article on the shooting:

Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was killed late Tuesday near Rio Rico, Ariz., according to a statement released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. At least four suspects are in custody and another is still being pursued.

The leader of a union representing Border Patrol agents said Terry was trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants for robbery.

In the Fox News reporting of the events that led to Agent Terry's death, it would seem that what most likely happened was that he was killed trying to protect immigrants from "bandits" who target undocumented immigrants crossing the desert.

In case Malkin neglected to read anything written about the DREAM Act, it only affects children born to undocumented immigrants in the United States who want to serve in the military or go to college. In no place within this legislation is there a provision to award "bandits" citizenship....

It is unfortunate what happened in Arizona, but it is irresponsible for anyone to conflate this act of violence with the current debate over the DREAM Act. It is entirely possible to secure the border and pass the DREAM Act. As they are both components of broad reform of our immigration system. Border security is a part of that and so is dealing with the current 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in America.