Monday, April 15, 2024

Hispanic Lawmakers Say President Obama Will Push for DREAM Act

At a White House meeting on Thursday with Hispanic lawmakers, President Obama promised to do everything in his power to help pass the DREAM Act, which would allow thousands of young people who attend college or join the military to become legal U.S. residents.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who attended the meeting along with Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), said, “The president made it absolutely clear to us that he would leave no stone unturned” in pushing for Senate approval of what’s known as the DREAM Act.

The immigration measure is expected to be offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nev.) on a defense funding bill this week before lawmakers leave town to campaign for the November elections.  Obama also supported the DREAM Act as a Senator.

“The president noted that it is time to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents, especially when those youth grew up in America and want to serve this country in the military or pursue a higher education,” the White House said in a statement after Obama’s meeting at the White House.

The measure faces an uphill battle with Republicans who accuse Reid of playing politics with the bills.  Advocates have mounted a tremendous lobbying effort to help pass the controversial legislation which has been in the halls of Congress for nearly a decade.

Rep. Velazquez said passing the bill “is the right thing to do, It’s a matter of fairness for thousands and thousands of young kids” who entered the country illegally with their families and shouldn’t be punished.

Carlos Saavedra says voters who care about the issue will be watching how senators vote on the bill.  Saavedra is the national coordinator of United We Dream, a coalition of student immigrant advocacy groups.

“Folks are literally dropping their lives right now to work on this,” Saavedra said.  “This is one of our last chances to get some justice to the immigrant community and immigrant youth. It’s huge.”

AP News