Dream Act Passes the House


The Dream Act, legislation designed to give undocumented residents an easier path to citizenship, narrowly passed in the House of Representatives tonight.  The legislation moves on to the Senate where Senate Majority leader Harry Reid will push for passage.

From the LA Times story:

The House passed the bill 216 to 198.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bi-partisan legislation, which would potentially legalize hundreds of thousands of young people, on Thursday. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), majority leader, is not expected to have the 60 votes needed for passage.

Republican leaders said the bill is just another form of “amnesty”, one that is too costly to taxpayers and will only invite more illegal border crossings.

With a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system dead, Democrats and immigrant advocates believe the Dream Act is the last best chance to win legal status for at least some illegal migrants before Republicans take control of the House in January.

Democratic congressional leaders chose to push forward with the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill, because even some conservatives believe that the young people who would benefit were brought here illegally by others through no fault of their own and should not have to suffer for it.

The Obama administration has supported the Democrats’ effort and, in a statement on Wednesday, repeated its strong endorsement. “While the broader immigration debate continues, the administration urges the Senate to take this important step and pass the DREAM Act,” it said.

In addition, the measure is supported by some pro-military groups as a way to help provide for the nation’s military  needs. Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said this week that the measure was a “common-sense” and “obvious” way to attract more high-quality recruits to the armed forces.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez was an early supporter and late co-sponsor of the Dream Act.  She issued this statement tonight:

“The DREAM Act is commonsense, bipartisan legislation that will provide millions of young people with the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. While I would have liked to see this bill passed as part of a comprehensive immigration package, I am hopeful that the Obama Administration and this Congress will build on today’s success by advocating for additional immigration reforms. America was built on the promise of freedom and opportunity, and the DREAM Act embodies these principles.”