One of the more detrimental features of the current Republican Party is its indulgence of the stubborn nativism that characterizes its base. That was on full display last night, when only eight Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who have demonstrated ambition, good character and talent.
The DREAM Act is no massive plan for “amnesty;” it is narrowly tailored to young folk who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years. They would be eligible for citizenship only if they served in the military for two years or finished two years of college. They would join the ranks of patriotic and productive Americans.
Michael Gerson, chief speechwriter for George W. Bush, had called on Republicans in Congress to support the bill:
It would be difficult to define a more sympathetic group of potential Americans. They must demonstrate that they are law-abiding and education-oriented. Some