DREAM Act Reintroduced in the Senate Today

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On the heels of President Obama’s speech yesterday backing immigration reform, Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) reintroduced the DREAM Act this morning.

The legislation, which would create a pathway to citizenship for certain undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the military, was defeated in December 2010, falling five votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Five Democrats voted against the bill.

Some immigrant advocacy organizations, such as the New York Immigration Coalition, called Obama’s immigration speech in El Paso “much ado about nothing” and “empty promises to immigrant communities,” demanding that Obama use his administrative power to help undocumented immigrants now.

Several national organizations, such as Reform Immigration for Americaand America’s Voice, took a softer approach to the speech by the president, endorsing his renewed push for reform.

More on the DREAM Act from Huffington Post:

NEW YORK—Elier Lara, 19, has a lot riding on the Dream ACT, legislation that Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) reintroduced this morning.

Lara traveled by car from Mexico to Minnesota with his family when he was four years old, moving with them to Ohio in the first grade. He’s a freshman at the University of Cincinnati now, majoring in Information Technology. Eventually, he wants to work on the country’s digital infrastructure, “like a pioneer,” he said, for a company like Google. He’d also settle for being a CEO.

But he’s undocumented.

“I’m a DREAMer,” he said. “I did everything right, but I’ve never been able to get a license or any sorts of ID. … There’s no guarantee that I won’t be arrested at any given time.”

The DREAM Act would allow Lara and other immigrant students—who have lived in the U.S. since they were children for five continuous years, have a clean criminal record, have graduated from high school, and have completed two years of college or military service—to curtail the looming fear of deportation by giving them the chance to become permanent residents.

“Now I’m rooting for it,” Lara said. “It’s my only salvation.”


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