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Smart Idea: Deport the Valedictorians -- The DREAM Act fails.

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At the age of three-and-a-half, I came to this country on a boat from Santiago, Chile. I didn't make the decision to come; I liked it in South American surrounded by my adoring grandparents and a loving extended family.

But my parents decided to bring me and my baby brother. I went to school here all my life, graduated from college and went to graduate school. We got on the American Dream road.

There are millions of children of illegal immigrants, who followed the same path I did. They did everything right. They graduated from high school, didn't get arrested, went to college, went into the armed force to fight for our country. They did everything we asked them to do. English is their native language.

But Saturday, because the Senate was unable to muster up 60 votes to pass the Dream Act, many of these native sons face deportation as illegal aliens, through no fault of their own. They should not have to suffer for the sins of their fathers.

The DREAM Act provided a path to citizenship for these good kids -- who came as youngsters, have been here five years, didn't get arrested, plan to go to college or join the armed forces. The DREAM Act was strongly supported by the armed services, who saw it as a fabulous recruiting tool, and by the Department of Homeland Security.

They came as kids. Their only crime was obeying their parents. They didn't know what they were doing, except they were doing what their parents told them to do. This is the only country they have ever known.

I am saddened -- not only because I feel compassion for nights of uncertainty that such anti immigrant hysteria has wrought, but also because it is so wrong and shortsighted for the future economic well-being of our country.

The human capital that America develops, and attracts, is much more valuable than all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

But the partisan idiots in Senate continue to squander our greatest natural resource -- our ability to attract the best and brightest from all over the world and keep those super kids who we have already invested in. Who knows maybe many of these "too good" kids might even turn out to be Republicans.

Indeed there are millions of teenagers who I would like to deport to somewhere else, if I had the chance. Those who drop out of high school, who join gangs, who get repeatedly arrested, who murder and terrorize people; who seem to have no regard for the rights of others in their community to live in peace.

As America falls deeper and deeper into depression, and the decline of the American Empire seems increasingly imminent, it is important to look back and see how we came to be the last, best hope for world peace and democracy.

Contrary to popular belief the immigrants who came and built this country were not the poorest, most desperate, uneducated, and unambitious. The ones who made it to this country had energy and ambition and some resources -- that allowed them to make the long difficult journey -- and to succeed. Our immigrants continually enriched our gene pool, the national DNA, with their energy and intelligence.

If there is an "American Exceptionalism" (and I believe there is), it comes from the circumstance that our country was built on the backs of talented, ambitious immigrants who were willing to surmount incredible odds to go as far as it took to succeed. In a global economy, talent, ambition, and education are scarce. There is never enough to go around.

If we want our companies to remain cutting-edge and our business ventures to attract worldwide talent, we must break free of political rhetoric and refocus on the economic fundamentals, our intellectual capital.

We must keep our educated, well-behaved immigrant students. 65,000 illegal immigrants graduate from high school each year, which costs us hundreds of millions dollars per year in educational funds. Why squander this huge educational investment?

In fact, in the former Soviet Union, perhaps wisely, they didn't let their educated doctors and scientists leave after all the monies the government had spent on their education.

Kick the dropouts and thugs out. Keep the good kids. I can only imagine what a powerful and motivating force this "path to citizenship" would have on young 14 year old illegal aliens and their families.

If we kick out our educated young and refuse to let in talented people, other countries will be glad to take them. Cities like Hong Kong, London, Toronto, Vancouver, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Mexico City, and Santiago, are chomping at the bit to lure these educated job creators.

For example, educated and brainy people from all over the world can easily get a Canadian Skilled Worker Visa, which allows them to become perfectly legal "permanent residents" -- no need for a sponsoring employer, or even a job.

Canada has no limit on the number of skilled immigrants who can move to the country.

"This is a dark day in America," according to Angelica Salas, Executive Director at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

"The Senate has given up on bright, promising young people like: Dalia, 19, who wants to be a psychologist and work with autistic children; Marcos, 20, who is studying to be a neuroscientist; Selene, 18, who wants to practice family law; Oscar, 21, who sees nursing as a way to care for others; and, Eder, 22, who is gearing up to be the best chemical engineer in his field."

Today democracy lost and politics won, said Maria Rodriguez, also of Chirla. "The future doctors, lawyers, astronauts, chefs, and attorneys waiting for this vote to become a reality will continue to remain in the shadow and afraid to show America their beauty and skills."

It is dangerous and self-defeating for the United States to deport educated young men and women, who want to live and work in America -- under the illusion that by doing so, we are protecting our economy. Our current deportation policies robs us of a vital resource that we need to help pull ourselves out of the recession, create jobs, provide role models, and put our economy on a sound footing for the future.

Deporting these young people will cost American jobs, not save them. These skilled and successful children of immigrants fuel innovation in America. We must not turn our back on them.

email: jfleetwood@aol.com