A Living Argument in Favor of the DREAM Act

UCSD grad student Mark Farrales is a good example of why something like the DREAM Act has merit.

Via the LATUC San Diego grad student scrambling to avoid deportation comes the story of Mark Farrales:

Brought here by his parents as a child, the now-31-year-old Farrales faces imminent deportation back to the Philippines. His only hope appears to be for Congress to pass a private immigration bill that could grant him citizenship, a legal maneuver that is rarely successful.

Farrales arrived abruptly in the United States as a 10-year-old in 1990, just days after two alleged hit men shot his father twice in the head outside their home in Quezon City in the Philippines, he said in a telephone interview from the Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster.


Farrales went on to become valedictorian at Belmont High School, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a degree in government, earned a master’s degree at UC San Diego and was pursuing a doctorate there. “I was in the process of finishing my dissertation on corruption reform,” he said.

When his father died in 2006, so did the battle to legalize the family.

Can someone explain to me why the US isn’t better off with someone like Farrales being allowed to stay?  And further, where’s the justice is sending him back to the Philippines after he has lived here for 21 years?  Why should his life be so radically altered by a choice his parents made when he was 10?  What was he supposed to do, refuse to go with his parents?

And cries of “he’s in the country ilLEGALly!!” don’t qualify as much of an answer, especially when one considers that if Congress passed the DREAM Act, he would be able to fix his legal status.

I understand that a strict letter of the law interpretation means that Farrales should be deported.  I am asking, however, as to whether it is actually a just outcome.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. superdestroyer says:

    One should never support a law due to a tear inducing anecdotal story when the end result will be more illgal immigration, more identity theft, and more fraud.

    Maybe Americans would believe what the government was saying about the Dream Act if the government did not have such a long history of lying involving immigraiton law. Remember that the government real border enforcement after the first amensty in the 1980’s. Since the government lied then and has refuse to enforce the laws ever since, there is no reason to give the government another chance to lie to our faces and let dishonest illlegal aliens to lie their way to citizenhsip.

  2. André Kenji says:

    In fact, the Dream Act is a formidable trap to Republicans. Harry Reid brings it to Senate, it´s blocked, he blames the Republicans and use it to alienate Hispanics from the Republicans. And the Republicans falls on that everytime.

  3. floyd says:

    Sounds like a great reason for an exception….. not a rule.

  4. Debbie Mabey says:

    If this 31-year-old gentleman is smart enough to be pursuing a PhD, then at some point I think he should have been smart and responsible enough to file his own case to pursue citizenship as well. As soon as he turned 18 he should have been thinking about the possibility that the path to citizenship under his father’s case might be denied. After high school, or after his bachelor’s degree, or after his master’s degree he could have returned to the Philippines and applied for a student visa to finish his studies. He chose not to. It would seem in this particular case that he gambled on the rules changing and lost rather than playing by the rules as they existed when he entered the “game” on his 18th birthday.

  5. james says:

    @ Steven I would argue that,

    Dream act is cover for Democatic voters, (30 million where) is the justice in this?

    You want to drop 30 million voters on the Democarates?

    This swerve to the west leaves out core values.

    This is no different then corn husker bail out or Louisiana purchase

  6. M says:

    From the LA Times story:

    “Before leaving for Harvard, Farrales asked the attorneys if he should pursue his own political asylum application or apply for a student visa. They told him neither was available to him because he was included in his father’s case…”

    But I suppose there are some who think he should have been smart enough to know his father was getting what was evidently bad legal advice. Because, of course, immigration law is so straightforward that any smart grad student ought to be able to figure it out.

  7. superdestroyer says:

    The more conservative party will never be able to appeal to Hispanics. Any Republicans who believes that the can appeal to Hispanic voters is a fool.

    The best thing the Repubicans can do to limit the damage from previous amnesty failures is to never have another amnesty, to deport illegal aliens, and to punish businesses that hire illegal aliens. That way there will be fewer future Hispanic voters for the Democrats to pander to.

  8. The more conservative party will never be able to appeal to Hispanics. Any Republicans who believes that the can appeal to Hispanic voters is a fool.

    Because hispanics are inherently Democratic? Based on what?

    Further, you are essentially arguing that the issue here is not right or wrong or really anything other that partisan politics.

  9. I would also direct readers of this thread to the following: click.

  10. Debbie Mabey says:

    Thank you for pointing that out, M, although if it were my future on the line I would have asked more than once and I certainly would have consulted my own attorney (after all, his father’s attorneys were technically looking after his father’s best interests, not his, right?). As Floyd said, especially given the bad legal advice Mr. Farrales received, this does not seem like a case on which to base the rules.

  11. anjin-san says:

    > you are essentially arguing that the issue here is not right or wrong or really anything other that partisan politics.

    Thats why he gets to wear a conservative beanie…

  12. floyd says:

    The more conservative party will never be able to appeal to Hispanics. Any Republicans who believes that the can appeal to Hispanic voters is a fool.

    Considering that “hispanics” are generally more family centered, mostly Catholic and have a work ethic , I think that when the dust settles on the emmigration issue they will become a conservative bomb in the face of liberals….. just a possibility.

  13. John Burgess says:

    I’d much rather Congress dealt with cases like this as exceptions (as Floyd notes) rather than blanket laws that encompass tens of thousands. Every member of Congress can sponsor a special bill to handle exceptional cases.

    It’s like the problems of class action suits. Do the members actually constitute a class, with similar enough causes for action, or is it only the results of a myriad of actions that are similar?

  14. An Interested Party says:

    “Considering that ‘hispanics’ are generally more family centered, mostly Catholic and have a work ethic , I think that when the dust settles on the emmigration issue they will become a conservative bomb in the face of liberals….. just a possibility.”

    A possibility that bears little chance of becoming reality as long as the GOP presents itself not just as anti-illegal immigrant, but also seemingly anti-immgrant, period, especially against Hispanics…

    Hispanics and blacks have often shown themselves to be more religious and conservative on social issues than other groups, and yet, both groups generally support Democrats far more than Republicans…we are told that the GOP should be the natural home for these groups, but it most certainly isn’t…now, I wonder how that could be…

  15. Brett says:

    To those who say Congress should handle “exceptions” like this – I think you do not understand how common this kind of situation really is. There are tons of people brought to the US as kids who only speak English, not the language of their native country, and may even not know that they are undocumented. I find it hard to understand why anyone would be opposed to letting these people, who are for all intensive purposes Americans anyway, stay here. They certainly did not intentionally break the law, and should not be punished for their parents’ mistakes. Yet instead, we end up shipping them back to a country where they cannot speak the language and don’t know anyone. I can’t understand why more people conscience’s aren’t bothered by what we have done .

    More to the point, why should we have Congress carving out exceptions for people based on whether they went to Harvard or not? I think everyone in this situation should get a chance to stay here legally, not just those with sufficient connections and degrees from elitist institutions. If Congress were to handle the very large number of immigrants in this predicament, no other legislation would ever get passed.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    The GOP has bet all it’s money on white.

    Hispanics are religious, anti-choice, skeptical on gay rights and . . . Democrats.

    Thank you, Republicans. You gave us African-Americans. You gave us gays. You gave us Hispanics. You gave us women. And as a consequence of your bigotry you gave us the young and the educated.

    Excellent. We’ll play these cards.

  17. floyd says:

    Do you dare say that people shouldn’t go to countries where they don’t speak the language and don’t know anyone? ;<)

  18. John Bowman says:

    This story illustrates exactly why we SHOULDN’T have the Dream Act,

    #1. If the US government and lawyers cannot get this one non-fradulent case right, then there is no way they could get the 5 million Dream application right.

    #2. As the story illustrates there are ways for exceptional cases like this to become legal if they are diligent and pursue them, they don’t need the Dream Act to become legal, and we certainly don’t need the 4 million fake GED fraudulent 10 year work permit applicants the Dream Act would give us.

  19. Boyd says:

    …and process matters.

  20. Andyman says:

    Certainly it does. Let’s change the process to make it one we can be proud of.

  21. superdestroyer says:

    michael reynolds,

    blacks have voted for Democrats since the 1930’s. Most blacks have never voted for a Repubican during their entire lives. Hispanics have always voted for Democrats. They are two of the most liberal groups in the U.S. and have zero interest is conservative ideas. Just look at the websites for the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The are to the left of Bernie Sanders.

    Blacks and Hispanics could not care less about social conservative issues such as homeschooling, charter schools, covenent marriage, abortion, or homosexuals. The only thing that irritates blacks and Hispanics is that white homosexuals are ahead of them in the politically correct pecking order.

    Any Republican who believes that a message of small government, lower taxes, and individual responsbility will ever appeal to Hispanics (or blacks) is a fool. Compare the Republicans pushing for a race/ethnicity neutral government to Rep. Luis Guiterrez wanting to tax the crap out of whites and give the money to Hispanics. The Republicans have zero chance of success.

    Any Republican voting for any form of amnesty is voting for higher taxes, more government, more quotas, more set asides, lousy schools, higher insurance bills, poorer healthcare, and is voting to turn the U.S. into a third world country.

  22. michael reynolds says:


    As usual: wrong.

    African Americans voted for FDR, because FDR signaled a move by northern Democrats away from the harshest types of racist oppression. In effect many voted for Eleanor and got her husband at the same time.

    They did not vote generally for Democrats in other federal offices because the Democrats were the party of Jim Crow in the south. In fact it was the Democratic party’s own efforts to keep African Americans from voting at all that necessitated the voting rights act.

    In the 1960’s, as the Democratic party embraced civil rights the GOP decided on a strategy of appealing to southern whites, rejecting civil rights and essentially picking up the job of race-hatred that was left behind by the maturing and increasingly enlightened Dems.

    There were of course cases where, in northern cities, Democratic machines did get black votes. But machine politics is a bit different than party politics.

    Don’t forget: Lincoln was a Republican and is still, to this day, probably the president most revered by African Americans. Had the GOP decided in the 1960’s to do the decent and moral thing rather than pandering to racist morons like you, the GOP’s conservatism on social issues would likely have split the African American vote and made them a swing block.

    As for Hispanics, they are generally Catholic, anti-choice, opposed to gay rights. How that translates in your brain to “liberal” I don’t understand. Oh, wait: I do. They have brown skin. I forgot, your “politics” never go more than skin deep.

    In any case, thanks. The tireless efforts of people like you ensure that the GOP will continue to grow whiter and older and dumber. By all means, continue shrinking your tent.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    A small correction: blacks didn’t vote for FDR in his first run precisely because at that time they were devoted Republicans. It was Republicans from Grant onward who pushed amendments that extended full equality to African Americans. The shift took place only later, after the New Deal, and after FDR began a concerted effort to woo black votes. But even in 1936 where FDR took 70% of the black vote party ID was still evenly split in the African American population.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    And since we’re doing some history here, I have the actual dates. It was not until 1948 that African Americans formed a majority attachment to the Democrats. (Right around the time Truman desegregated the armed services.) Yet even after that Ike got 39% of the black vote and Nixon got a third of the black vote.

    As of the 50’s the African American vote was up for grabs. And even into the sixties there was enough residual black Republican party ID to earn Nixon a significant share. Of course once Nixon threw in with white racists that was the end of black Republican voting.

  25. That’s it? You find one good candidate and therefore want to grant amnesty to millions? Really?

    This sounds like something I would expect from Harry Reid at a podium or Chuck Schumer in front of a camera. It’s not a policy argument but an attempt to avoid a policy argument by appealing to emotions.

    Oh, and Michael Reynolds, in the spirit of the holidays and with goodwill towards all men why don’t you consider no longer calling anyone who doesn’t belong to your tribe a racist.

  26. @Charles: It is what I would call an example. I was already in favor of the policy. It seems to me that children brought here through no fault of their own and who have grown up here and who are willing to go to college or serve in the military ought to be given legal status and a path to citizenship.

    An illustration of a real life example strikes me as a useful illustration of that fact.

  27. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Taylor, the hispanics vote democratic because they get their goodies from that party. Just like African/Americans. They were not freed by the Democrats. King was a Republican. Democrats have used tax funded social programs to buy votes. You call yourself a polical scientist? If you do not think hispanics vote democrat, look at CA. Do you always live in denial?
    Secure the “f”ing borders.

  28. An Interested Party says:

    “Oh, and Michael Reynolds, in the spirit of the holidays and with goodwill towards all men why don’t you consider no longer calling anyone who doesn’t belong to your tribe a racist.”

    Except superdestroyer’s own words have shown him to be a racist…

  29. superdestroyer says:

    It is amazing that the left considers it racist to point out that blacks and Hispanics behave, on average, very differently than whites. NO matter how much data that liberals are presented, no many anecdotes used to demonstrate the case, no matter how many examples used, if you demonostrate that blacks and Hispanics and their cultures are not the same as whites, then the left will consider everyone a racist.

    Of course, no matter how many government policies fail because of the refusal of the left to face facts and no matter how badly the government performs, the most important point of anyone of th eleft is to never let anyone call them a racist. Of course, those same leftist send their own children to all white schools while calling everyone else a racistm.

  30. james says:

    Are we a Nation of Laws or guide lines ?

  31. michael reynolds says:


    Superdestroyer is a racist. It’s not even a close call. It’s not a stretch.

    So, Charles, how about rather than bitching at me for telling the obvious truth, you stop automatically assuming that no one is a racist? They do actually exist, you know. They’re not like unicorns or God, they’re real.

  32. james says:

    @ Steven

    An illustration of a real life example strikes me as a useful illustration of that fact.

    It’s the Domino effect how many of his family tree would get a free pass?

    “There are not solutions, just compromise” Walter Williams PHD

  33. matt says:

    Apparently in Superdestoyer’s world white trash or wiggers don’t exist neither do middle class non-whites.

  34. superdestroyer says:


    Thank you for confirming my belief that the left considering noticing that blacks and Hispanics are different from whites is racist. I guess it not does not matter how many demographic facts I point out, you refuse to believe them or even acknowledge that they exist.

    At least you have gone out of your way that the left is not the reality based community they always claim they are but are drivien, in public, by political correctness that is totally disconnected from reality.

    Of course, one only has to look at how elite white progressives live their personal lives to see that those elite whites progressives know that blacks and Hispanics underperform and will pull down those around them. Why else do you think that everyone from President Obama on down send their children to virtually all white schools and isolate themselves from poor blacks and Hispanics.

  35. matt says:

    Superdestroyer has had limited exposure to other races and as such is using charactures and stereotypes as the basis for his arguments. This dude has never stopped to realize that what he’s describing is actually a mindset and not something that the majority of middle class blacks/hispanics/etc live like. As stated before he acts like he’s never seen a wigger or white trash which if you were to reverse superdestroyer’s thought process he would be claiming that’s how all white people are..

    So in essence he’s blaming the ghetto mentality on blacks/Hispanics/non whites while ignoring the millions of eminem wannabes running around contributing to the stupidity..

  36. superdestroyer says:


    The percentage of whites who live the white trash life style is about 1/3 of all whites. However, over 80% of blacks live and behave the same way. Just look at the illegitimacy numbers to see the effect. Look at the high school drop out rates. There is no place in the U.S. where whites behave as badly as blacks do in DC, Baltimore, Detroit, St Louis, Newark, etc.

  37. matt says:

    You’re a cute one. You’ve already chosen your ideology (whites are the superior race) and now you reject those facts that disagree with said ideology. Which is probably why you haven’t really responded to any of my facts in other threads…

  38. superdestroyer says:


    If you want to complain about facts, you may want to actually reference anything that can be a fact. Yes, Whiggers exist but how does whites minimicing the worst behavior in the black community support your thesis that there is no difference between blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians. How does the fact that about 1/3 of whites behave the same as 80% of blacks support your idea that black cultgure does not ecist and has no harmful effects on the U.S. ?

    The real question for the future of the U.S. is what will happen to the U.S. when more than 50% of white adopt black culture and adopt the pathologies of the black community. Will it make you feel better when the white illetifmacy rate goes above 50%. Will it make you feel better if 40% of whites drop out of high school?

  39. matt says:

    98% of your statistics are made up on the spot. It’s not worth responding to a white supremacist that makes up numbers out of whole cloth..

  40. matt says:

    Actually It’s not generally worth responding to a white supremacist in the first place as they usually are so convinced of their own genetic superiority that there’s no hope of persuading them otherwise. So the best thing to do is to just ignore them and leave the trailer park…

  41. superdestroyer says:


    I see you are one of the bomb throwing liberals who believes that if someone points out any demographic difference between whites, Asians, blacks, and Hispanics, that that person is a white supremecist.

    However, the real question is how can the U.S. survive as a country when blacks and Hispanics both have illegitimacy rates above 50%. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39993685/ns/health-womens_health/
    The black community’s 72 percent rate eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent.

    Also, how can any conservative party hope to ever appeal to blacks when only about half of black men graduate from high school. http://www.thegrio.com/specials/making-the-grade/grim-graduate-rates-for-black-males-highlight-racial-gap-in-schools.php

    Calling it a “national crisis,” the report found that only 47 percent of black males graduated from high school in the 2007-2008 school year.

    So no I do not make up statistics. I do however believe that the U.S. should face the future knowing that most of its population will be black or Hispanic and that they will not be able to compete in the global market place. And yes, having lots of whiggers around will make it even harder. So why does the left keep encouraging whites to adopt black culture?