Questions about the DREAM Act military and university requirements

[![](http://blog.stanfordreview.org/content/images/2010/12/dreamact.jpg "dreamact")](http://blog.stanfordreview.org/content/images/2010/12/dreamact.jpg)
Rally in support of the DREAM Act (source: nycsylc.org)
In light of the recent [news](http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/45844.html) and [debate](http://www.stanforddaily.com/2010/12/01/sense-and-nonsense-making-the-dream-a-reality/) about the [DREAM Act](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DREAM_Act), which would provide a path to legal residency and citizenship for some undocumented individuals in America, I have a few questions.

First, for the record, I support the DREAM Act, for three reasons, briefly: it is the morally right thing to do for these very deserving undocumented individuals; endowing more deserving people with the rights and responsibilities of being an American is good for society; and much of the opposition to immigration reform comes from self-interested protectionism and nostalgia for the good old days we never actually had.

My questions are:

  1. This will lead many undocumented individuals to enlist in the military and risk their lives to qualify for citizenship (the other option is to attend university). Won’t a big negative (and unintended?) consequence of this be to make military recruiting easier than it should be (relative to public support for wars) and shift the burden of military service further onto the lower classes? (See also: ROTC debate.) Is the argument from those who fear this outcome but nevertheless support the DREAM Act just that there’s a net benefit?
  2. Suppose an undocumented individual doesn’t want to go to college or join the military. Perhaps she wants to become an electrician. If the DREAM Act makes her instead pursue a useless degree that’s partially subsidized by the government (even though she’s not eligible for direct grants), is that a desirable outcome? She’s throwing away time and tuition money (or taking on loans), and the government is throwing away educational subsidy money. (Some people already see a bubble in higher education just like the one in real estate.) The law must draw the line somewhere, but can anyone think of a better way to let people qualify for citizenship than forcing them into either university or the military?

Again, I do support the DREAM Act. These are just some interesting questions I’ve been thinking about and would like to hear people’s responses to.

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