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On Immigration Reform, Senator Menendez and the CHC Show What Leadership Is About

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 It’s Not Too Late for GOP to Put American Values to Work and Support DREAM Act

Washington, DC – At a community event organized by The Reform Immigration for America and the Center for Community Change this morning, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) announced the way forward for the immigration reform movement.

First, they announced their strong support for the DREAM Act, a measure that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promised to bring up for a Senate vote next week.  The DREAM Act would be a huge victory for young people brought up as Americans who want to go to college and serve in our military, and would be a major breakthrough in the drive to fix our nation’s dysfunctional immigration system in its entirety.

Second, Senator Menendez announced his intention to introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  This critical move will ensure that the fight for a broad and much-needed overhaul of our immigration system remains our overarching objective.

And third, the leaders announced their push for administrative reforms that would focus the law enforcement priorities and resources of the federal government on the “worst of the worst” while ensuring national coherence to our approach to immigration policy.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Senator Menendez and the CHC deserve tremendous credit for stepping up at this time and in this way.  They are putting the immigration reform movement back on offense – fighting for the DREAM Act now, fighting for enforcement reforms that can be effected by this Administration, and fighting for a comprehensive reform of our nation’s immigration laws, which is the only way to truly fix our broken system.”

Despite its numerous benefits to military recruitment and economic competitiveness, it appears as though a swath of Republicans are planning to oppose DREAM, led by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who referred to the bill as “extraneous.”  However, back in the 108th Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-3 in favor of the DREAM Act, receiving support from, among others, current Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and John Cornyn (R-TX).

According to Sharry, “The DREAM Act adheres to our country’s most cherished values and would ensure that the next generation of young leaders has a chance to pursue the American dream.  Despite Republican obstructionism and excuses, the DREAM Act is relevant, timely, and needed for America’s military and future economic competitiveness.  We hope that those Republicans who have supported DREAM Act in the past will do the same next week.” 

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