NAICU Washington Update

DREAM Act Fails Despite Numerous Attempts

December 22, 2010

Over the past couple of months, the House and Senate have attempted to move the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) through Congress and deliver it to the president.  While the House was able to approve the bill earlier this month, two attempts to move the bill in the Senate were both unsuccessful.  Any further activity on the DREAM Act will now have to wait until the next session of Congress.

The DREAM Act would allow undocumented young adults who came to the U.S. illegally as children an expedited path to citizenship.  Requirements would include their completing high school and enrolling in college or serving in the military here for two years.  The act also would allow them to continue living and working in the U.S. until citizenship is granted without fear of sudden deportation. 

Historically, the DREAM Act has enjoyed bipartisan support.  Immigration reform became more polarizing, however, given the lawsuits in Arizona, and continued to be a "hot-button" issue during the recent elections. DREAM became ensnared in non-germane bills being pushed through quickly.  Even after the elections, DREAM remained damaged by those efforts and failed to garner the votes necessary to pass the Senate despite two attempts in December.

NAICU has long supported passage of the DREAM Act.  In recent years, providing citizenship to the undocumented youth who have served in the armed forces or have been educated in our colleges and universities was hailed as something both parties could agree on in the larger immigration reform effort.  Advocates on both sides of the aisle saw it as a way for those who had grown up in the United States to become tax-paying participants in the U.S. labor market and not risk deportation.  Its future fate is now uncertain.

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