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Dreamers know it's better to give than to receive

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- Everyone tells whoppers about the Dreamers. The lies -- about these undocumented young people brought to the United States as children -- come from both right and left. One side paints Dreamers as greedy takers; the other side sees them as selfless givers. Neither sketch is accurate.

Conservatives say that giving "amnesty" to Dreamers will bankrupt the country because the high-achievers will go on welfare. Liberals insist Dreamers aren't asking for handouts and that, in fact, they don't want or need much of anything.

If you believe either of these yarns, I've got a good story about a portly white-bearded fellow who delivers presents.

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., recently took to Twitter to defend Dreamers -- 800,000 of whom are worried about being deported now that President Trump has repealed the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Meng tweeted: "All Dreamers want is the opportunity to learn, work & live in the only country they have ever known."

Sorry, Congresswoman. That's not true. Dreamers want much more than just the chance to learn, work and live in the United States.

-- They want to march and protest and petition the U.S. government with their grievances, because many of them think that the Latino civil rights movement began with their arrival.

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-- They want the right to remain in the United States legally for the rest of their lives, preferably as U.S. citizens with all the protections and privileges that come with the title.

-- They want to go to the best colleges and universities that they can get into, and avail themselves of scholarships paid for by public tax dollars. That's fair. After all, some of those tax dollars were paid by their parents who, while undocumented, still ponied up plenty of taxes - sales, property, even income. Tax collectors don't discriminate.

-- Dreamers want the right to vote so they can help choose the representatives of their adopted country, while rewarding friends and punishing enemies.

-- They want to hold both parties accountable and put to rest the naive assumption of many immigrant advocates that all Democrats want to help them and all Republicans want to harm them. Bully for them. These young immigrants could teach the native-born a thing or two.

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