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Congressional and Administration Action Needed for the DREAM Act

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Durbin Press Conference Reintroducing the DREAM ActToday, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Majority Leader Harry Reid and 31 of their Senate colleagues, in addition to Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the DREAM Act in the U.S. Congress.  For the 11th year, this bipartisan legislation offers talented young people — who are Americans in all but paperwork — an opportunity to fully contribute to the country they call home.

The DREAM Act has broad support – in the last Congress, the DREAM Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives and won a majority in the Senate, coming just five votes short of the sixty votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.  The DREAM Act has been continually introduced on a bipartisan basis in Congress for more than ten years and enjoys the support of approximately 70 percent of voters, according to a poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for First Focus in June 2010 and a November 2010 poll from Lake Research Partners showed similarly high levels of support. 

The DREAM Act has also been championed by religious, business, education and civil rights leaders, as well as military leaders and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who recognize the benefits of recruiting talented young people who are eager to serve.  

President Obama also is a strong supporter of the legislation.  During his commencement address at Miami Dade College in South Florida on April 29, he spoke about DREAM eligible youth, saying:

Some were brought here as young children and discovered the truth only as adults…They put their futures on the line in hopes they will spur the rest of us to live up to our most cherished values.

And yesterday, in El Paso, the President reiterated his support for these young people:

These are kids who grew up in this country.  They love this country.  They know no other place to call home.  The idea that we’d punish them is cruel.  It makes no sense.  We’re a better nation than that.