First proposed in 2007, The Development, Relief, and Education Relief for Alien Minors Act or DREAM Act is a bill scheduled to be voted on before Congress next week that would, in essence, provide a pathway to legal status in the U.S. for young aliens who were brought to the country illegally before the age of 16. As the only way for minors in the U.S. to obtain legal status is through their parents, this legislation would provide a valuable channel for the illegal children of immigrants–some of whom have lived in the U.S. their entire lives and may not even speak the language of their country of origin.
Under The Dream Act, these immigrant children could receive “conditional permanent residency”, provided a number of factors are in place. Most importantly, the person must be attending college or serving in the military. After this period is over, they would be receive permanent legal residency and the chance to apply for U.S. citizenship. In addition, they must demonstrate “good moral character,” a condition that has not been clearly defined and mainly is a product of discretion.
The history of The Dream Act is a long and contentious one. A similar bill was introduced before Congress in 2001, but the legislation as it stands now was first proposed in 2007 as an amendment to a defense bill. After a revision–including the implementation of an age cap–the DREAM act seemed to fall by the wayside, brought up a few more times but with voting continually pushed back over debates on amnesty and more comprehensive immigration reform. This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced it would go before Congress again as a part of a National Defense act.
Obama has reportedly told Hispanic lawmakers that he is putting his support behind getting the bill passed this time around. After many false starts since 2007, it’s time for lawmakers to put up or shut up.
If we as a country want to keep the myth of the American Dream alive, it’s time to put partisanship aside and get this legislation into practice.
For more information about the Dream Act and ways you can help support it (including contacting your representatives), click here.
- *Update (11.18.10 at 10:00 a.m.)*
President Obama and the leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will be pushing for passage of The DREAM Act during this lame duck session of Congress, according to a White House Press Release today. You can read more about it here, including ways to make your voice on the issue heard.
*Update (9.21.10 at 2:30 p.m.)*
Unfortunately, the Senate voted today to not move forward with discussion of the Defense Authorization Bill that included the DREAM Act. This is by no means the end, and we can now fight to get this important piece of legislation before Congress as a stand alone bill. Dream Activist is urging people to call Senator Harry Reid and ask that this take place.
*Update (9.21.10 at 11:42 a.m.)*
The DREAM Act is schedule to go in front of the Senate today for a vote. The session is scheduled to start at 2:15 Eastern/1:15 Central time this afternoon. This is an important bit of legislation, and HRI fully supports its passing.
If you’re interested in letting your voice be heard by your representative before the bill is discussed this afternoon, go here to learn how you can call them and let them know you support this.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments.