In the midst of an immigration debate that has seen Republican candidates attack President Barack Obama for his role in creating the conditions for the so-called Dreamers to come to America, some Republicans are questioning whether the nation’s Dream Act is an effective way to improve relations with the world’s most vulnerable people.
In a wide-ranging interview with Next BigFuture, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican presidential contender, said that he thought it was a mistake to have a bill that provided protections to so-far undocumented immigrants in the country without the additional help for those who are still here legally.
He also argued that Congress could have done more to encourage companies to hire the Dreamers.
“I think that it’s very unfortunate that we have a bipartisan bill, which gives them the right to work legally, but it does not give them the ability to go to a company and say, ‘You know what, we are going to pay for the benefits that you will have and we will take care of the costs,'” Giuliani said.
“And I don’t think that that is a good idea.
And I think it’s an example of how, as a country, we’ve been slow to get to grips with this.
And it’s time to fix that.”
The issue has also become a flashpoint in the presidential race, with the front-runners, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, making attacks on the Dream Act in the wake of its passage.
Trump has called the legislation “a disgrace,” and Carson has suggested that Dreamers should be allowed to “stay” in the United States until they qualify for legal status.
Giuliani said he did not believe that Dream Act was necessary, given the problems of the program.
“The Dreamers were brought here, illegally, in the late 1960s,” Giuliani said in the interview, which was conducted in his office in Manhattan on the day before his announcement that he was running for president.
“So, the problem was that they were brought in illegally.
They were not allowed to stay.
And then, of course, there were a lot of people in the program who were brought to this country illegally who are now here.
So, we have to take care not to have the problem that we’re having.”
The bill that was signed into law by Obama in 2012, which also extended legal status to Dreamers, was not a major step forward in improving relations with immigrants.
It offered no additional benefits, like a pathway to citizenship or a pathway back to the United State, and instead created a pathway for immigrants to obtain permanent legal status through work.
It was also riddled with problems, including the lack of data on the impact of the Dream act on undocumented immigrants, and the inability to determine whether Dreamers actually received benefits.
The new law also included an amendment to require employers to report the number of Dreamers who were employed, but that provision was removed in the final version of the legislation.
While Giuliani said he was not sure whether his support for the legislation was sincere, he said he supports the Dream bill, even if he does not agree with the policy it provides.
“As I see it, it’s a good thing, and I think the Dreamer is a very good thing,” he said.
The comments came just hours after the White House announced a deal to extend the Dream visa program through 2024, though the program would be limited to a handful of countries, including China and India.
The administration had previously announced that it would allow Dreamers in the U.S. to work for up to five years, with up to three of those years being a renewable five-year period, and that Dream workers would have to have permanent legal residence in the state where they were originally brought to the U, though this option was later dropped.
The new program would extend Dream visa holders’ access to benefits from next year through 2021.
“Today is the day that we finally get a bipartisan deal that will extend the opportunity for the Dream families to stay here in the USA,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Thursday.
“We have the votes to make it happen, and we have the commitment to make sure that every American is able to get the chance to contribute to the future of their children.”
In an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday, Trump said that Dreamer recipients were “bad people” who were “bringing drugs into our country,” and he criticized the Dream immigrants’ parents for “making money by ripping our country apart.”
Giulio also criticized the new deal, saying that it could have been improved by a little more information on how many Dreamers received benefits, and by a more comprehensive immigration plan that included more than a million Dreamers on a permanent basis.
“You have to make a deal with people,” Giuliani told Next Big Futures.
“I don’t know how much money we have, but I think you have to deal with them, because they are bad people.