Senate Democrats Re-Introduce DREAM Act
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Democrats in the U.S. Senate are hoping to restore the dream of citizenship for children of illegal immigrants by reintroducing the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
The legislation would allow undocumented students who arrived in the U.S. before turning 15 to apply for conditional legal status for a six-year period provided they graduate from a two-year college, complete two years of a four-year university or serve in the military for two years.
At the end of the six-year period, they could become permanent legal residents if they have a clean criminal record.
In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that undocumented students can legally attend K-12 public schools. However, the decision did not address public education beyond high school. It is estimated that 65,000 illegal immigrants graduate from U.S. high schools each year.
Last September, Senate Republicans killed the DREAM Act by refusing to vote for a defense authorization bill to which it was attached. The measure was re-introduced this week after President Barack Obama gave a speech supporting immigration reform.
Democrats will be without the support of Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who has championed the DREAM Act since 2005. The turnabout is a result of GOP politics, as Lugar faces a primary challenge next year in seeking reelection.
Immigration is expected to be a hot topic in 2012 and Lugar was reluctant to put himself out front on the legislation. A spokesman said the senator may vote for the bill, depending on “the circumstances in which the bill was brought to the floor, and the political posturing surrounding such a vote.”
Facing Long Odds, Democrats Reintroduce DREAM Act (by Sahil Kapur, Raw Story)
DREAM Act: Durbin Backgrounder (by Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times)
Lugar Pulls Name from DREAM Act (by Maureen Groppe and Eric Weddle, JC Online)
Act to Allow Undocumented Students to Attend College Killed in Senate (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Bipartisan Bill to Help Undocumented Students Attend College (by Melanie Young, AllGov)
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