Monday, November 29, 2010

Congress eyes DREAM Act: Fair to illegal [undocumented] immigrants or back-door amnesty?

Senate majority leader Harry Reid has said he will take up the DREAM Act next week. The bill would open a path to citizenship for some young illegal [undocumented] immigrants.

By Gail Russell Chaddock, Staff writer / November 23, 2010/ Christian Science Monitor

 If compelling human stories counted as votes, the DREAM Act would breeze through the lame-duck session of Congress, which resumes on Monday.

Take Pedro Ramirez, the student body president at California State University, Fresno, whose illegal status recently was leaked by an anonymous tipper. In response, hundreds of Fresno State students rallied to support him last week.

“It’s time to pass the DREAM Act,” said university President John Welty, who urged students to call members of Congress.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, first introduced in August 2001, creates a path to citizenship for children under the age of 16 brought to the US illegally [without documents] and who attend college or have joined the military. It’s a top priority of Senate Democrats in the waning days of the 111th Congress. Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada says he will take the measure to the floor as early as next week.

It’s also a flash point in an ongoing partisan fight over whether and how to reform the nation’s immigration laws. Republicans have pressed for stronger enforcement of existing law – including beefed up border security and more reliable identify documents to help employers screen applicants – as a confidence-building measure.
In anticipation of a floor fight over this bill, Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are circulating a position paper that describes the DREAM Act as a gateway to a broad amnesty for millions of people and their extended families now in the US illegally [without documents]

 "It is highly likely that the number of illegal [undocumented] aliens receiving amnesty under the DREAM Act will be much higher than the estimated 2.1 million due to fraud and our inherent in ability to accurately estimate the alien population,” concluded a report released by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After criticism that the bill included no age limits – and therefore was a potentially broad amnesty measure – sponsors capped eligibility at Age 35.

The US Department of Education estimates that there are some 55,000 students about to graduate from high school who could qualify for help under the terms of the act...more

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