Senator Jeff Sessions with Congressman Filner and VA Secretary Togo.
Its Time To Work Together For the DREAM ACT
The Senate line-up for the DREAM ACT vote, that will possibly be next week, is not totally clear. Sessions, as usual is screaming inflamatory figures that are incorrect. There are currently app. 65,000 DREAM ACT students in the U.S. - but Sessions says it will give amnesty to 1/3 of the undocumented population (which would be over 3.5 million people).
This is the time for everyone supporting the DREAM ACT to contact their Senators - and remind them that undocumented people have many connections with voters... - and the choice a Senator makes regarding his/her DREAM ACT vote will be remembered by future DREAM ACT U.S. citizens who will certainly be active voters..
Foes line up to oppose DREAM Act
Lawmakers hope to push bits of the DREAM Act immigration bill forward, including a measure that would benefit undocumented immigrant children.
Posted on Sat, Sep. 15, 2007
BY LESLEY CLARK
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 legalization.
The legislation, known as the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) 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 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 are now 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 one million illegal aliens will qualify'' for the provision.
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.
Pro-DREAM Act groups are unlikely to have Martinez's support this time around. Durbin plans to offer it as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill. A spokesman for Martinez said Friday that the senator doesn't support ''adding immigration-related amendments'' to the defense bill.
Durbin acknowledges the uphill battle but said he has bipartisan backing and is working both sides to garner more support.
''Thousands of young people are counting on this effort,'' said Durbin, who argued on the Senate floor that ``we can allow a generation of immigrant students with great potential and ambitions to contribute more fully to our society and national security, or we can relegate them to a future in the shadows.''
Durbin suggested the act could boost military recruiting efforts and is hoping interest from the Defense Department will persuade some of the bill's critics to take a second look.
Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, told representatives of veterans' group in June that the measure -- which was then part of the immigration bill -- could ``boost military recruiting.''
A Defense Department's news agency article quoted Carr as saying that because the provision applies to the ''cream of the crop'' of students, it would be ''very appealing'' to the military.
...''They've done everything right, studied hard, worked hard. Why wouldn't we take advantage of that?'' she said. ``It's counterintuitive to be deporting success stories.''
But groups that favor stricter caps on immigration argue that the law doesn't make exceptions.
''I'm somewhat sympathetic, but in the eyes of the law they are illegal, regardless of age or however gifted they are as students,'' said John Keeley of the Center for Immigration Studies. Keeley acknowledged the bill would affect a small percentage of immigrants, ``but to the extent it's passed and signed into law, it creates momentum for more of its kind.''
Sessions argues in his letter to his Senate colleagues that the DREAM Act and a separate immigration measure that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is pursuing ``would provide amnesty to approximately four million illegal aliens [roughly one third of the current illegal alien population].''
Feinstein's AgJOBS bill would allow agricultural workers to obtain legal status.
Among Sessions' complaints: It would eliminate a federal provision that discourages states from providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students.
The act, he says, would ``allow future illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition even when it is not offered to citizens and legal permanent resident students living just across state lines.''
And Sessions argues that the act ''is not just for children and young adults.'' It requires only that immigrants' illegal entry occur before they were 16 years old.
For complete article: http://www.miamiherald.com/519/story/238390.html