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Harry Reid Steps Up on DREAM Act

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Senate Majority Leader Pushes to Move Critical Immigration Bill

Washington, DC – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is embracing the need to move on the DREAM Act this year, providing a shot of momentum to a measure that enjoys bipartisan support.  If enacted, the DREAM Act would serve as an important step towards comprehensive immigration reform. 

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “In pushing for the DREAM Act, Senator Reid is doing the right thing.  We all know that comprehensive immigration reform is the only way to fix our nation’s dysfunctional immigration system once and for all.  But the fact is, not one Republican is currently willing to work with Democrats on a comprehensive proposal because of election year politics.  Senator Reid’s support for the DREAM Act – an immigration reform measure authored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) that would allow thousands of young people to earn legal immigration status and eventually citizenship if they go to college or serve in the military – gives the measure new momentum that could lead to its enactment this year.”

Senator Reid gets the stakes at play when it comes to the DREAM Act, recently saying, “I am happy to do the DREAM Act.”  He met with DREAM Act eligible young people in Las Vegas; he made remarks about the need for the DREAM Act at Netroots Nation on the same day his office received 20,000 petitions in favor of DREAM; and he is meeting today with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to discuss moving forward on DREAM. 

Said Sharry, “Pursuing the American dream is a core value of our nation, and DREAM Act students embody these aspirations.  Our broken immigration laws are getting in the way of them realizing their full potential, and Congress should clear the way now so they can achieve it.”

Background on the DREAM Act

The DREAM Act is bipartisan legislation that would enable high-achieving young people to continue their success and achieve the American Dream.  Specifically, the DREAM Act gives eligible young people who were brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to resolve their immigration status and work towards citizenship.  To move from being undocumented to being a U.S. citizen, those eligible will have to pass background checks and be of good moral character, graduate from high school, and go on to complete additional requirements related to attending college or serving in the military.  

The legislation is supported by leaders in education, the military, business, and religious orders including the Evangelical movement, the Jewish community, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  It also has broad bipartisan support in Congress, including lead sponsors Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL).  The public supports the DREAM Act as well – a June 2010 national poll conducted for First Focus found that support for the legislation cuts across regional and party lines with 70% overall support, 60% support from Republicans and 80% support from Democrats. 

For more information on DREAM, visit: http://nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/index.htm.

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.