Maryland's Dream Act only encourages people to break the law

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Proponents of Maryland's Dream Act allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates say it is wrong to "punish" an innocent child whose parents brought them to this country before their 16th birthday. An unlocked front door also offers opportunity. If a parent entered, removed a TV and took it home would you say the kids had a right to it? Of course not.

These children, who have received many years of education in our exemplary school systems and total immersion in the language of international commerce, will have a tremendous advantage over their peers when they return to their own country.

I do not hate illegal immigrants. I rather admire them for having the gumption to take risks to improve their lives, and I hope that I would be so bold under similar circumstances. But that does not mean they belong here, and their own countries sorely need them to improve life there.

Though some argue the cost of the Dream Act itself is trivial, it strengthens the magnet that draws undocumented immigrants to enter this country illegally and weakens incentives for our own lower-skilled workers to accept jobs most Americans will not do.

There are legal ways to come here for an education. The Dream Act rewards those who jump the line and says the way to get ahead is to break our laws.

There are also legal ways to come here temporarily or to immigrate permanently. But illegal workers are preferred by industry because it can pay them lower wages. This puts a further burden on our social services and promotes welfare dependency. We need to stop the employers of illegals.

Congress has promised tougher enforcement of the immigration laws before in return for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Now is the time for Congress to make good on that promise.

Russ Swatek, Columbia

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