Yesterday’s reintroduction of the DREAM Act—sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and many others—elicited a wide range of responses, from elation that the bill is back to hopefulness about continued progress to skepticism that it is anything more than a political vehicle. Here’s our roundup of the commentary:
From Ezra Klein at the Washington Post:
Another option would be for Obama and the Democrats to put their shoulders behind smaller pieces of legislation that have more life in them and may, just may, have the potential to begin changing the immigration debate. That’s why I’d say the most important event in immigration politics in the last 24 hours wasn’t Obama’s speech, but Harry Reid’s decision to reintroduce the DREAM Act.
There’s no more sympathetic group in the immigration debate then children who were brought here illegally through no fault of their own, and there’s no more obvious group to help than those who get degrees in our universities or serve in our military. And the DREAM Act has demonstrated its congressional appeal: The bill almost passed in December 2010. There’s not much reason to believe it could pass in 2011, either, but it could get enough votes in the Senate to force Republicans to kill it themselves, and it’s a bill that the Obama administration could, if they put real effort into it over the next few years, plausibly push over the finish line. And so far, promising to pass laws that actually can’t pass hasn’t worked out for them.
SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina:
It has been reported that a son of Mexican immigrants who was born in the U.S. was among the American heroes in the Navy SEALs squadron that brought Osama Bin Laden to justice. The report reminded us of the dreams of millions of youths in our country who want to serve the country that is their home but cannot advance because they were brought into this country without proper documents.
The DREAM Act would let these children apply for legal status after meeting a two-year college requirement or serving in the U.S. military. It is an investment in our nation’s future and our economic and national security.