Tuesday, July 23, 2024

DREAM Act Up for Vote in Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday that he will add the Dream Act as an amendment to a defense bill to be voted on by the Senate next week.

The DREAM Act would allow young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16, and have been here for at least five years, to earn legal status if they pass background checks, attend college or serve in the military for at least two years.

“This amendment will ensure that millions of children who grow up as Americans will be able to get the education they need to contribute to our economy,” Reid said in a statement.

The legislation, which was first introduced in 2001, had been expected to be bundled in a comprehensive immigration reform package as many congressional Democrats and immigration reform advocates have signaled would be preferred.

“By bringing the long-overdue DREAM Act to a vote, Senator Reid has shown that he agrees with 70 percent of Americans who want to provide undocumented young men and women a chance to apply their full potential to making our country a better place to live,” Tyler Moran, from the National Immigration Law Center, said.

Reid has said he is unsure that the measure has the 60 votes it needs to pass.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that the move by Reid was “needlessly controversial.”

The bill would benefit many children and teenage immigrants who are brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents and have only known the U.S. as home.  Without family ties or other connections to their countries of birth and unable to work in the U.S., many of these young adults face uncertain futures.

“The president supports the DREAM Act and I support the DREAM Act. The president supports immigration reform, and I support immigration reform. And how Congress takes that up is for the Congress and the leadership to decide,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

A News Views