Congress Should Act on Bipartisan Basis to Strengthen the Economy, Solve a Key Aspect of Our Broken Immigration System
Washington, DC – Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he will bring the DREAM Act up for a vote, as a stand-alone measure, during the final days of the 111th Congress.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “We are pleased that Senator Reid has decided to schedule floor time for the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill that has been around for nearly a decade, and it deals with an important aspect of our broken immigration system. The young people who qualify for the DREAM Act are Americans in every way but their citizenship. They came here in the arms of their parents, and have no knowledge of the country they left behind. They excelled in American schools and J-ROTC programs, and they simply want a chance to go to college or join the military and serve the only country they know as home.”
The DREAM Act, introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), as well as Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support. In the 108th Congress, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-3 in favor of the DREAM Act, with support from current Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (who helped draft the legislation), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and John Cornyn (R-TX). The DREAM Act was also part of the comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate in 2006, after being included as an amendment in the Judiciary Committee by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Twenty-three Republican Senators voted for the 2006 bill (eleven of whom are still in the Senate).
According to Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: “Democrats would need to peel off two Republican votes to beat back a filibuster. Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) has previously said that he would vote for the bill as a standalone and, having lost his GOP primary, can vote freely on the measure. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) is also retiring in a few weeks time. A number of Republicans supported the measure in 2007, though that was several lifetimes ago in political terms.”
Tramonte continued: “By deciding to bring up the DREAM Act on its own, Senator Reid is offering an olive branch to Republicans who had objected to voting on it as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill. We now expect those Republicans who signaled support for the DREAM Act on its own to come forward and work with Democrats to pass this important legislation. By passing the DREAM Act, Congress has a chance to show that it can rise above the heated rhetoric of the campaign season, work on a bipartisan basis, and allow these talented young people to reach their full potential.”
“America is the land of opportunity, where every individual has a chance to succeed on her own merits. The DREAM Act was crafted in that spirit: giving immigrant youth a chance to go to college, serve in the military, and give back to this great nation. Congress should do the right thing, and pass the DREAM Act now.”
For more information on the DREAM Act, see:
Military and National Security Leaders Support the DREAM Act
Letter from Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, in Support of DREAM Act
Let Us Serve 2010: Stories of DREAM Act Eligible Youth Ready for the Armed Forces
UCLA NAID: The Economic Potential of DREAM Act Beneficiaries
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.