Harry’s dreaming

Republican senators Tuesday used their slim 41-vote plurality to block passage of a military appropriations bill to which Harry Reid and his Democrats had grafted various unpopular measures, including the “Dream Act,” a thinly disguised push toward full illegal immigrant amnesty.

Many people are under the false impression the Dream Act would grant citizenship to children born here of illegal immigrant parents. But such children are, at present, automatic U.S. citizens at birth. Instead, the Dream Act would grant legal status to immigrants younger than 36 who arrived in the U.S. as children, have lived here for five years, and are currently either in college or serving in the military.

The problem with the proposal is that it would create a new and more powerful incentive for illegal aliens to sneak into this country with their foreign-born children, who would thus be promised automatic citizenship if they can just dodge the authorities for a few years.

Such amnesty is vastly unpopular with voters. So what can Sen. Reid — currently in a dead-heat re-election race — be thinking?

“The timing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s push for the Dream Act raises questions about whether it is an attempt to curry favor with Hispanic voters in his home state,” Amanda Paulson of the Christian Science Monitor speculated this week. “Hispanics make up 26 percent of Nevada’s population. (In 2008, they accounted for about 15 percent of the electorate),” the Monitor reported. “In his neck-and-neck battle with ‘tea-party’ favorite Sharron Angle, the majority leader needs every vote he can get, and he’s counting on a big positive response from Hispanics for pushing a bill that is popular with them.”

Is it, though?

The Dream Act is presumably popular among illegal aliens. But — at least in theory — they can’t vote.

Meantime, voter turnout rates even among legal Americans of Hispanic descent have never been high, and plenty of U.S. citizens of Hispanic ancestry want to see the nation’s immigration laws enforced, arguing they or their ancestors “did it legally,” so why shouldn’t everyone else?

Ms. Angle, the Republican Senate challenger, has already released a TV spot calling Sen. Reid “the best friend an illegal alien ever had.”

The Democrats’ latest ploy is desperate. Like a losing football team throwing nothing but Hail Marys from its own 10 yard line, it runs the chance of having an effect diametrically opposite to that intended.

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