Dream Act would confer U.S. citizenship
Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/201409
WASHINGTON — Months after the collapse of a sweeping immigration overhaul, a
top Senate Democrat plans to push for a smaller measure that could give tens
of thousands of undocumented high school and college students a shot at
The legislation, known as the Dream Act, could give students who were
brought to the United States before they were 16 a chance for residency if
they graduate from high school, stay out of trouble and complete at least
two years of college or enlist in the military.
Immigration advocates say the legislation, which Senate Majority Whip Dick
Durbin, D-Ill., hopes to introduce as soon as next week, is the best chance
for students like brothers Juan and Alex Gomez, who came to the United
States as infants, were educated in Miami-Dade public schools, and now are
fighting orders of deportation to Colombia.
But opponents already are gearing up, hoping to torpedo the measure, which
they consider "piecemeal amnesty."
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who helped derail the immigration bill, this
week sent out a letter to his colleagues, warning that "a conservative
estimate suggests that at least 1 million illegal aliens will qualify" for
Though Sessions' opposition is not unexpected, it represents one of the
considerable hurdles the legislation has faced since it was introduced in
2001. The climate for passage may be particularly tough this year, with
anti-immigration advocates emboldened by the defeat of the larger
immigration bill, which had the backing of President Bush and Florida Sen.
Mel Martinez, the general chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Durbin acknowledges the uphill battle but said he has bipartisan backing and
is working both sides to garner more support.