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Momentum Builds for Passage of DREAM Act this Year

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Opportunity for Congress to Demonstrate Bi-Partisan Action on Common Sense Legislation

Washington, DC – There is renewed urgency around the DREAM Act, in Washington and across the country.  Spanish-language media is chronicling these developments, showing how important the legislation is to a large segment of the Latino population.  And last night, a televised town hall hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC made a compelling case for the DREAM Act as a key stepping stone on the way to broader immigration reform.   

Today, the most influential Spanish-language newspaper in the nation, La Opinión made a compelling case for DREAM in an editorial entitled, “The Time is Now!”  The newspaper writes, “This is the moment to make the effort to pass the DREAM Act and open up the path for hundreds of thousands of young people to enter the university or serve in the Armed Forces…This legislative session is filled with dozens of legislators who have either lost their reelection or are planning to retire. They have nothing to lose by doing the right thing and voting for a bill that will help the economy in the short and long term by preparing our country’s future labor force. And, at the same time, they will be strengthening the military.  Political savvy and determination will be needed to pass this legislation.  Opportunities exist to attach it to other bills if it appears that it cannot be approved on its own. With so much at stake, the time to act is now!”

Similarly, the leading figure on Spanish-language television, Jorge Ramos of Univisión, wrote a column (in Spanish) imploring both parties to remember that the DREAM Act is a practical and common sense approach to strengthening America’s military and economic futures while living up to our best national traditions.

Over the past few days, momentum has built on behalf of DREAM in the corridors of Capitol Hill, as Democratic leadership from both congressional houses announced plans to move on DREAM during the impending congressional lame duck session.  Today, the DREAM Act will be the topic of a meeting between President Obama and leading members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who also are expected to discuss the need for comprehensive immigration reform.  Notably, the Democratic leadership support has been joined by important Republican voices in recent days, such as Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who yesterday called on Speaker Pelosi to schedule a vote on the legislation this year; Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who noted her support for moving DREAM in an interview with Univisión; and incoming Representative David Rivera (R-FL), who told Jorge Ramos that he supports the DREAM Act on Al Punto.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Not only is passage of the DREAM Act a priority for Latino voters, but it’s broadly popular with all Americans.  Democrats have a window of opportunity to show they can pass real immigration reform.  Republicans also have a window of opportunity to show that they can move past their anti-immigrant party image and support common sense immigration reform.  Voters are eager to see Washington work together to pass exactly this type of bipartisan legislation, and will hold both parties accountable for how they handle the debate.”

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