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House of Representatives narrowly approves Dream Act; Senate must now vote on immigration bill

In a last-ditch showdown on immigration relief for illegal migrants, the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday narrowly approved the so-called Dream Act that would offer a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people who attend college or serve in the military.

The House passed the bill 216 to 198.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bi-partisan legislation, which would potentially legalize hundreds of thousands of young people, on Thursday. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), majority leader, is not expected to have the 60 votes needed for passage.

Republican leaders said the bill is just another form of "amnesty", one that is too costly to taxpayers and will only invite more illegal border crossings.

With a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system dead, Democrats and immigrant advocates believe the Dream Act is the last best chance to win legal status for at least some illegal migrants before Republicans take control of the House in January.

Democratic congressional leaders chose to push forward with the Dream Act, a bipartisan bill, because even some conservatives believe that the young people who would benefit were brought here illegally by others through no fault of their own and should not have to suffer for it.

The Obama administration has supported the Democrats’ effort and, in a statement on Wednesday, repeated its strong endorsement. “While the broader immigration debate continues, the administration urges the Senate to take this important step and pass the Dream Act,” it said.

In addition, the measure is supported by some pro-military groups as a way to help provide for the nation’s military  needs. Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said this week that the measure was a “common-sense" and "obvious" way to attract more high-quality recruits to the armed forces.

Faith groups and many educational leaders also mobilized for the measure, including UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, who argued that the students’ skills and talents were badly needed to help the nation in an increasingly competitive global economy.

The legislation would give hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants a chance at becoming legal. The requirements state that, to be eligible, a person must have been brought to the United States before he or she was 16, been in the United States for five years, earned a high-school degree and be attending college or be in the military.

In recent days, Democrats had aimed to pick up some Republican support by dropping the maximum eligible age from 35 to 29, extending the waiting period for a green card from six to 10 years and eliminating the requirement that Dream Act youth pay tuition at in-state rates rather than out-of-state rates. In-state tuition, which is what undocumented students in California pay, amounts to an average annual public subsidy of about $6,000 nationally per student.

Some Democrats, in an effort to attract Republicans in agricultural states, had also pushed to add to the Dream Act provisions to ease the process to bring in legal farm workers.

Most Republicans opposed the act as unjustified “amnesty” for lawbreakers or said no legalization should be considered until the border was first secured. Others said they would be willing to consider legal status for the youth but opposed provisions to allow eventual legalization of their lawbreaking parents. Still others objected to the added cost for public services for the Dream Act youth.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis this month estimated the House version of the Dream Act would reduce deficits by about $2.2 billion and increase revenues by $1.7 billion over the 2011-2020 period. It estimates that the Senate version of the legislation would reduce deficits by about $1.4 billion and increase revenue by $2.3 billion over the 2011-2020 period.

The Dream Act “rewards parents who broke the law through their kids, puts a significant expense on taxpayers and will overwhelm community colleges with new students,” said Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Ivan Rosales, a 21-year-old senior and biology major at Cal State San Bernardino, said he has dreamed of becoming a military doctor. Rosales, who was brought here illegally by parents from Mexico when he was less than a year old, was a straight-A student at Rialto High School and a science whiz awarded science fair honors and a merit-based presidential scholarship.

He was attracted to the military after joining the ROTC high school program and finding he enjoyed the discipline and organization, he said. He also was inspired by an older brother in the Air Force Reserves and a brother-in-law who served in Iraq. But unless he has legal status, he cannot join the military.

“Being in the military is the ultimate sign of your patriotism and showing your love for this country and its values,” Rosales said.

If the bill fails in the Senate, immigrant advocates say they won’t give up. In coming months, advocates say, they will assess their options -- including ways to leverage the growing number of Latino voters as national elections loom in two years.

“There’s going to be a lot of heartbreak and blame-placing, but we will have to regroup,” said Antonio Gonzales of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a Los Angeles-based public policy analysis group.

RELATED:

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block urges passage of Dream Act

Should illegal-immigrant college students have path to citizenship?

Fresno State student body president acknowledges he is an illegal immigrant

-- Teresa Watanabe

 
Comments () | Archives (85)

Yo, Senor Rosales! Plead your case to the INS - that your parents brought you here when you were a baby - and show them your rcord of citizenship.

Show them that you have been a good person, gotten good grades, kept your head down, your nose clean. Let them know that the only thing you want is the chance to naturalize the normal way - not the cheater's way, set up by a bunch of cheaters to make the big cheater in the Oval Office happy.

You would be proving far more honorable than just telling your sad story and then grabbing onto the easy way.

This Bill is DOA...

It's about time to give these young people opportunity to prove their worth. Give the law abiding youths the much needed break for the attainment of the ultimate tranquility of this great land. God Bless America.

The legislation would give hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants a chance at becoming legal. The requirements state that, to be eligible, a person must have been brought to the United States before he or she was 16, been in the United States for five years, earned a high-school degree and be attending college or be in the military.

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And of course, illegal aliens would NEVER be willing to lie and claim to be younger than 30 or to have been brought here before age 16. There is every incentive TO LIE since merely by filing an application you get a "temporary" work visa good for 10 years. And even if you commit fraud or never meet the very minimal requirements of this bill, well, do we really believe that this Administration is going to kick out non violent illegal aliens any more than it does now? In fact, this bill even provides for the head of DHS to WAIVE the requirements, and you can bet she will. In short, this bill gives legal access to our educational system and workforce to literally millions of illegal aliens. It contains NO ENFORCEMENT measures, so we can be assured that it will attract not only frauds but more illegal aliens dragging their kids here for a "better life", never mind that AMERICANS lose that better life for themselves.

so did any Republicans vote for this travesty in the House? That would have been more helpful news than another drippy story about an illegal having to pay a price for her lawbreaking parents. We need to know who gets booted out in the primaries in 2012

What the heck is "immigration relief for illegal migrants"?

Okay, so let this happen but only if there is a provision to disallow chain immigration. The rest of their family has to get in line if they want to immigrate.

I was under the impression that serving in U.S. armed forces was (already) a legal pathway to citizenship. I've even seen immigrants from many countries serving in the U.S. armed forces, learning English and such. I will verify this for myself today. That being said, if the reason given for why we need more and more "immigrants" is to do the jobs Americans don't want to do, then why are we fast-tracking them to higher education? Even Obama came out and said we need more skilled trades, more electiricans and engineers. The whole green revolution thing, and rebuilding of our infrastructures is going to take re-bar and concrete. Instead we're training more critical thinkers.
When these college-bound immigrant kids get their degrees, who is going to do the jobs they don't want to do?

When did it become necessary to be American citizen to join the military?

When I joined the U.S. Navy in 1948, we had a man in our basic training camp from Canada. He was made our Captain because he had been in the Canadian service before joining the U.S. Navy and had some military experience.

Has that acceptability changed?

Ivan Rosales says he has been in the country as an illegal alien for 21 years yet his older brother is a member of the Air Force Reserve (I presume the U.S. Air Force). If he can't join the military, how could his older brother join the Reserve? How could his older brother be a legal citizen?

Interesting points to know.

People keep making it seem that its only Mexican children who are brought here by their parents. There are many other children brought here illegally by no fault of their own. I know it was wrong of their parents but still give these kids a fighting chance. Also I've been hearing one reason Americans dont want this passing is because these children will drop out of college before finishing just to have a ssn but part of the criteria you have to finish college or miliary before receiving full benefits of the Act. Also they will apply for the immigrant parents. That will take years before their parents even see a green card. So basically this is to help kids that deserve a fighting chance. Also this country is built on immigrants many many years ago most of our great grand parents were brought here to work and pave the way for us now. So why cant we help kids who were also brought here by no fault of their own. Have hearts Americans if it were your own child I bet you would want someone to help them.

LIKE IT OR NOT, THIS IS OUR HOME,AND WE ARE GOING TO FIGHT FOR OUR DREAM.
YES! TO THE DREAM ACT!=)

With the LORD all things are possible. Students just pray don't stop thank God for it.PASS THE DREAM ACT they are the future.

Do you not know that the US is lagging behind the rest of the world? Why not let them be apart of a society they already contribute to. Not only that, but vast majority of them can contribute to the Military.

I want to join the military but i can't because am illegal , i don't even speak Spanish :( very well . I was brought to this country when i was 6 months old on a visa i was legal until i was 7 found out i was illegal when i couldn't join a sports club because i had no SSN my mom told me.


it sucks because i can't go back to mexico , i don't know anything there hard, to get a job with legal papers, even harder to get one without them!i have plans on becoming a computer programmer and can't because there's just not enough money in my family to put me there.

it's a shame because i see so many immigrants with legal papers and all they're doing is gang banging and selling drugs :(

And of course, illegal aliens would NEVER be willing to lie and claim to be younger than 30 or to have been brought here before age 16.
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wrong i have proof that i was here man... before 16 i still got my kindergarten report card for crying out loud! i have all of my report cards saved from K-12 and a diploma to prove it.


since you're paranoid you can go check the school records i even have my EXPIRED VISA with A BABY PICTURE OF ME with MY FATHER HOLDING ME UP.

In short, this bill gives legal access to our educational system and workforce to literally millions of illegal aliens. It contains NO ENFORCEMENT measures, so we can be assured that it will attract not only frauds but more illegal aliens dragging their kids here for a "better life", never mind that AMERICANS lose that better life for themselves.
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legal access?EDUCATION isn't something you or anyone should be restrictive of i guess you forgot what our founding fathers had in mind when they made this country. yeah well that WORKFORCE will pay taxes they will do what you do ,don't bring over population into the discussion because china with more than a billion people has had it's economy flourish and had it's feet soaked into the pool of superpowers. the economy. the problem and reason you don't have jobs is because american companies are outsourcing them for cheap labor and profit internationally obviously why pay you when they can get it get it done cheaper with bigger profit somewhere else.

I met my wonderful wife overseas 17 years ago. We filed for the proper visa for her to enter the USA legally in 1995, & were married 6 months after her arrival. We have filed all the proper forms, attended countless interviews (hours away from our home town) with the INS over the last 15 years insuring she continued her legal status. She received her permanent resident in 2000, She has always worked and paid taxes, paid health insurance, bought American Cars, just like all of the rest of us Americans. We have spent thousands of dollars for immigration filing fees, interviews, out of town trips, transportation, fingerprints, documents, postage, photo’s, etc, etc, etc. Not to speak of waiting in endless lines all day just to speak with a INS agent (You will never get one on the phone). Tomorrow on December 10, 2010 she will take her oath for citizenship of the United States Of America. After all we have been through she understands and earned what a American Citizen is and stands for. There has been no hand outs or government help for us, It’s ALL BEEN EARNED.
Now for our greedy politicians to pass a bill DREAM AMNESTY and hand the illegal’s a citizenship on a silver platter for a vote is so dishonoring to Her, Myself , All Americans, and any other legal immigrant in this country now or in the past. Just think we Americans will also pay for it, (i.e. Attorney fees, filling fees, transportation fees,tuition, passport fees, etc.).
For those whom think America owes them Anything, WE DON’T, It is something you earn, and earn legally, with no handouts on the way. You will never understand what an American is or stands for when its handed to you. You will never try to learn our language, you will be a burden the rest of your life on OUR society.

It just really PISSES ME OFF when YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY AND YOU GET

* A JOB,
* A DRIVERS LICENSE,
* SOCIAL SECURITY CARD,
* WELFARE,
* FOOD STAMPS,
* CREDIT CARDS,
* SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE,
* FREE EDUCATION,
* FREE HEALTH CARE,
* A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON
* BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE
* THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY’S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH RESPECT
* AND, IN MANY INSTANCES, YOU CAN VOTE.

I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE AMERICANS HAD A FIRM GRASP ON THE SITUATION

can we just make university open to all but charge immigrants and others full tuition and give all citizens free or subsidized tuition this way every one gets what they want !
We citizens get a free or subsidized university and the immigrants can pay for it!

I want to see if someone can help me out and tell me how I can support the dream act, and what are the requirements to get involved in this dream: )

At most, give the children work visa. A green card is far too generous and unfair to those that abide by the law.

Just because someone is against the Dream Act doesn't mean that they are against immigration, they are only against illegal immigration. I am a legal immigrant here and I am against illegal immigrants, which are the only people that this bill benefits.

Such a shame to hear people posting negative comments on the dream act eventhough they have Latino last names You guys have no shame we all pitty you =]

Alma G.: that crap get applause in your Mecha meetings at school, but it's naive and non persuasive in the real world.

The good that the Dream Act proposes definitely outweighs the bad. For starters, like many of you have said, no one has any say so of where they are born. They have no control over what their parents did, illegally. This Dream Act benefits both America, and those children who were "illegally" brought here. It gives those students who have shown good moral character, have gotten good grades, and have positively contributed to the community an opportunity to go to school or join the military.
The country would only benefit from students who are seeking to achieve higher education, because we need more educated individuals that can help us to compete globally. We can also benefit from those ready to serve in our military.

what's so wrong about passing the dream act? I think just how us Americans have the right to get a better education so do the illegal students. All they want to do is get a better future for themselves and their families. I agree 100% that this law should be passed. Not all hispanic are the same, don't get me wrong we are not perfect either but neither are the Americans. Myself born and raised here in the land freedom I graduated high school and I'm going to college and majoring in criminal justice. My whole family is from El Salvador and when they came, nobody had papers. But now thank God they do. Give everybody else the same opportunity, remember this generation are the leaders if tomorrow!

 
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