The DREAM Act could be offered as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill being considered in the Senate next week. In a blog entry earlier this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced his intention to include the DREAM Act in the major defense bill scheduled for floor action next week. The version of the Defense Authorization bill that passed the House of Representatives in late May did not include the DREAM Act provision. If the Senate passes their version of the defense bill with the DREAM Act intact, it will still need to survive the conference committee reconciliation and then come back before each chamber for a final vote.
The DREAM Act, which has some bipartisan support, would allow young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16, and have been here for at least five years, to earn legal status if they pass background checks, attend college or serve in the military for at least two years.
A version of the measure was first introduced in 2001 and was drafted to address the situation of children and teenage immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents and have only known the U.S. as home. Many have no family or ties to their countries of birth.
Passage of the DREAM Act independent of a comprehensive immigration reform measure would be a departure from a strategy favored by many immigration reform advocates, congressional Democrats and the Obama administration.
But the White House has indicated, as recently as yesterday, that it would support DREAM legislation. We support it as well!!!