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Secure Communities Pullout, DREAM Act Passage Cause Light Political Uproar

By aaroncynic in News on May 7, 2011 6:30PM

Photo of the Illinois Capitol by Jeremy Farmer Photog.
Both the passage of the Illinois DREAM Act and Gov. Quinn's decision to opt out of the Secure Communities program have caused quite a stir regarding immigrants' rights. The Department of Homeland Security rejected Quinn's attempt to opt out of Secure Communities, a program that calls for checks on immigration status by anyone arrested by local or state police. DHS officials told the Huffington Post that they will still require the state to share fingerprints with ICE.

Meanwhile, the Palatine Tea Party had a metaphorical coronary over the passage of the Illinois DREAM Act, sending email blasts condemning the bill and the legislators who passed it, including 11 Republicans. Rich Miller at Capitol Fax quotes the message: “These 11 Senators spend tax dollars like drunken sailors on shore leave, and once caught try to spin their way out of a problem they created...Once again the Illinois dream act is another spending bill that could adversely affect Illinois citizens.”

As Miller, The Huffington Post and Senator Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove, via Lisle Patch) point out, there are two glaring inconsistencies with the criticism over the DREAM Act. First, while some have compared the bill the Federal DREAM Act, the Illinois version in no way grants citizenship to anyone. Second, the bill is not a spending bill in any way. As we pointed out on Thursday, the bill merely creates a non-profit entity, funded entirely by private money, that provides scholarships for the children of undocumented immigrants who meet Illinois residency and educational requirements. Since this is a separate scholarship fund, these students will not be competing with other students, the money will not come out of taxes on Illinois residents and we think both Chicago and Detroit are fine cities.