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DREAM Act Re-Introduced in Senate

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was re-introduced in the Senate yesterday by Senators Richard Durbin, Harry Reid, Robert Menendez, and 30 others. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented young people to apply for legal status upon joining the military or attending college for two years.

President Obama gave a speech on immigration on Tuesday in El Paso, Texas, in which he urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act. Last fall, the DREAM Act passed the House but failed to pass the Senate. The bill was first introduced in 2001 by Senator Durbin, and today is supported by the Obama administration, the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Education, and Defense.

Another immigration bill has been introduced in the House which requires employers to use a system called E-Verify when hiring workers to make sure that they are allowed to work in the United States. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says that if this legislation passes, the Senate may be able to attach the DREAM Act to the bill.

Each year, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in the U.S. but are ineligible for college. Earlier this month, twenty-two U.S. Senators in a letter called on the President to use his executive authority to grant “deferred action”-a stay from deportation-to DREAM Act-eligible students.

Obama remarked in his speech Tuesday that he would not use his executive powers to stop deportations of undocumented people. The American Immigration Council has urged the administration to stop claiming that its hands are tied on immigration reform, saying, “It is time for the Administration to more clearly define a vision for what its legacy on immigration will be, then take action to ensure that vision is reflected in its interpretation and implementation of immigration law.”

Sources:

Feet In Two Worlds 5/12/11; New York Daily News 5/11/11; Washington Post 5/11/11; Immigration Policy Center Press Release 5/11/11