You are on page 1of 5

Mulcahy 1

Isaac T. Mulcahy
Instructor Shannon Sanchez
English 1010-089-F16
11 November 2016
Rhetorical Analysis of DREAM Act
Have you ever been told that you cant accomplish a task by someone that thinks that
they know better than you? Have you ever told someone that they cant accomplish a task
because you knew better? These two perspectives are held by the proponents and opponents of
the controversial, and as of yet unpassed American legislative proposal known as the DREAM
Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). The DREAM Act provides a path to
American citizenship to certain qualified unregistered aliens. The path would include stages of
conditional residency, permanent residency, and eventual citizenship. Gaby Pacheco,
unregistered alien and author of the article Obama, stop deportations of DREAM students and
Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies and author of the
article The High Costs of the DREAM ACT, attempt to pull the American Public to join their
respective side like heavily muscled brutes on either end of a game of tug o war, and the
American public is the flag in the middle of the rope. Pacheco implores President Obama to end
deportations of youth that may qualify for the DREAM Act. Krikorian addresses the monetary
cost of the DREAM Act and points out fatal flaws found within the proposal. Through the use
of an arrangement of ideas and patterns, empirical evidence, and claims of fact, Pacheco and
Krikorian influence the American publics sensibilities using emotional, ethical, and logical
appeals.

Mulcahy 2

Pacheco uses a specific arrangement of ideas to build an argument for President Obama
to stop talking about supporting the DREAM Act and start acting. Throughout her article
Obama, stop deportations of DREAM students she recounts the actions and inactions of others
in an effort to push President Obama into action. She relates the decisions her parents made to
come to the United States and leave family, language, and everything they know, to take a
chance at the American dream. She does this to establish a foundation of success and sacrifice
in an effort to relate to the reader. She contrasts this success with one of failure. When the
DREAM Act was put forth in Congress, it fell five votes short of the 60 needed to end a
Republican filibuster, she states and then expresses her disappointment with both sides of the
aisle stating, Both Republican and Democratic senators are at fault for this failure. Her
arrangement of ideas to associate a successful and brave act to the American dream and then
follow it with a failure to act accomplishes two things. Firstly, it helps the reader see that it isnt
their fault that the DREAM Act is unpassed; its the politicians who are at fault. Secondly, she
implies that since Congress is weak it needs a strong figurehead to act, that figurehead being
President Obama.
In addition to Pachecos arrangement of ideas she provides an ethical argument by
establishing a historical precedence. She informs the reader about how President Bush acted as a
strong figurehead and exercised his presidential authority to do something very similar to what
shes asking of President Obama. She states, President Bush used his discretionary powers to
defer the deportation of undocumented immigrant spouses of military soldiers. If a President
had stop deportations before then a President can stop deportations now. She provides this
evidence to effectively help unsupportive readers rethink their position on the matter.

Mulcahy 3

A different rhetorical strategy is used by Krikorian to attain his goal in his article The
High Costs of the DREAM ACT. He uses empirical evidence to sway the reader into looking at
their bank account and worry about their childrens futures. He states, . . . that the bills collegeattendance requirements will cost U.S. taxpayers $6.2 billion in subsidies . . . Speaking about
taxes is an incredibly effective tool in causing middle class Americans to vote against any
legislative proposal, especially one that doesnt affect them directly. This ethical argument by
itself would be effective except that Krikorian quickly undermines himself by underscoring his
empirical evidence with less than certain claims of fact.
Krikorian uses claims of fact when referring to education and how the DREAM Act
doesnt cover costs. He claims that, the acts passage will require some combination of tuition
increases, tax increases, or a reduction in spaces available for American citizens at these
schools. His argument takes a turn here as he begins stringing along claim after claim with little
or no evidence to support them. However, the points that he makes regarding to opportunities
that would otherwise have been available to American citizens and legal immigrants, are
effective in instilling a sense of worry or fear in the reader, with the only relief coming from the
fact that the DREAM Act remains unpassed. Krikorian also claims that the DREAM Act has
four fatal flaws where he describes the DREAM Act as an amnesty, discusses fraud and
increased illegal immigration, and states that, all amnesties reward illegal immigrants, he is
projecting his personal thoughts and opinions upon his readers without basis of fact and leaving
what little evidence he has far behind him. His argument is completely ineffective in regards to
informing the American public as to the flaws within the DREAM Act because he discredits
himself and his institution by veering so far from his starting point based on empirical evidence.

Mulcahy 4

Its very easy to get caught up in the undulation of emotions that rhetoric provides so
readily, regardless of how effectively it was used, and especially when discussing such a
sensitive issue. The authors Pacheco and Krikorian were able to effectively pull the reader in as
they attempted to persuade the reader to join them on their side of the tug o war, but most
Americans will be stuck between them, logic and emotion notwithstanding. The readers will be
content to inaction because they know that its the politicians who are to blame; meanwhile
theyll sigh as their taxes dont go up, at least for this issue.

Mulcahy 5

Works Cited
Krikorian, Mark. "The High Costs of the DREAM ACT." FOX NEWS, 2 December 2010,
<http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/12/02/high-costs-dream-act.html>.
Pacheco, Gaby. "Obama, stop deportations of DREAM students." CNN, 12 May 2011,
<http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/05/10/pacheco.immigration.dream/index.html>.