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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS The DREAM Act Back for a U.S. Senate Vote
The DREAM Act Back for a U.S. Senate Vote PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Friday, 03 December 2010 08:38

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Journal Group Link International)

 

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act Will Provide Immigration Relief to a Select Group of Alien Students

 

C HICAGO (jGLi) – If at first you don’t succeed, re-introduce the bill even during the lame duck session of U.S. Congress.

 

This is exactly what Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin (Dem.), the No. 2 leader in U.S. Senate hierarchy, was doing as he dusted off the S. 3837, the DREAM Act of 2010, that is due up for a vote Tuesday (Dec. 3).

 

Supporters of the bill in the Chicago, Illinois area led by Skokie, Illinois Commissioner Jerry Clarito, an officer of Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), is pinning their hope on new Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk to support the bill being pushed by his fellow Illinois senator.

 

Mr. Kirk, who was elected to take over the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama during the mid-term elections, pledged to support an immigration reform bill during the campaign only after the immigration border is fixed.

 

Senator Kirk’s spokesman Lance Trover did not respond to phone request for comment by this reporter.


The latest turn of events came shortly after U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged U.S. Congress Thursday, Dec. 2, to pass the DREAM Act that would allow some foreign-born young people who were illegally brought to the
U.S. as children to become legal residents.

 

By passing the law, Congress would help Napolitano’s department focus on deporting immigrant with criminal records.

 

T he DREAM Act was inserted as rider, along with another controversial bill, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” in the National Defense Authorization Bill before the mid-term election last September. But Republican senators objected to the inclusions of these amendments into the omnibus bill.

 

The DREAM Act gained traction before the elections when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced during the campaign that he would tack it in the Department of Defense Authorization bill. It is a bill that allows undocumented youth to legalize their status by joining the U.S. Military or by attending college education.

 

It applies to immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before 16, have been in the country at least five years and have a U.S. high school diploma or equivalent. It would let them become U.S. residents after they've spent two years in college or the military.

 

Secretary Napolitano said it doesn't make sense for her department to spend time and resources prosecuting young people who don't have criminal records and who didn't have a say in when they came to this country.

 

"What makes sense is to allow these young people a way to adjust their immigration status that is firm but fair," Napolitano told reporters during a White House-organized conference call. President Barack Obama also supports the bill.

 

Meanwhile, the White House will host an on-the-record conference call with Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke on Friday, Dec. 3, to discuss the DREAM Act, and “why it’s important to our nation’s competitiveness in today’s global economy."

 

According to a press statement from the White House, Secretary Locke will be joined on the call by the President of Regent University Dr. Carlos Campo, UCLA Chancellor Dr. Gene Block, and the President of Miami-Dade College Dr. Eduardo Padron.

 

The DREAM Act was written by both Republicans and Democrats and has long enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle, passing twice out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan votes.

 

Even if the DREAM Act passes the U.S. Senate, which has the support of 40 senators, it is very unlikely that it will hurdle the U.S. House of Representatives, which is now the hands of the new Republican majority. It will take 50 votes plus one to pass the senate.

 

The House version, H.R. 1751 of Dream Act introduced by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA-28), has 137 votes, 81 short of the 218 needed to snag the majority votes.

 

S enators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the DREAM Act on March 26, 2009. This is the third Congress in which the two senators Lugar and Durbin have teamed to introduce the legislation.

 

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would provide immigration relief to a select group of students and allow them to become permanent residents if they came to the United States as children (under the age of 16), are long-term U.S. residents (5 years or more), have good moral character, and attend an institution of higher learning or enlist in the military for at least two years.

 

In addition, the legislation would allow states to grant in-state tuition rates to alien students. The DREAM Act would provide young people with an incentive to move towards permanent residency, while pursuing further education or serving our country in the U.S. Uniformed Services. # # #

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 



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Last Updated on Saturday, 04 December 2010 17:52
 

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