Word has started to trickle down that the only immigration reform taking place this year will be of a piecemeal variety. According to The Hill, Senate Democrats are looking to focus on energy legislation over the next two months, leaving no room for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). However, advocates are not giving up hope, stating that there is still time in 2010 for a CIR bill to be passed.
The article mentions two popular pieces of piecemeal legislation, the DREAM Act, and AgJobs. The DREAM Act addresses the issue of immigrant children who grew up in the United States but are prevented from pursuing their dreams by current immigration law. As of June 2, 2010, the DREAM Act had 38 cosponsors in the Senate and 120 in the House, with bipartisan support in both.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) explained the DREAM Act in The Hill:
Our bill would give immigrant students the chance to become legal residents if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years. The DREAM Act would allow a generation of immigrant students with great potential and ambitions to contribute more fully to our society. Our country would also benefit from thousands of highly qualified, well-educated young people who are eager to serve in the Armed Forces during a time of war.
Despite his support for the DREAM Act, Durbin wants the DREAM Act as part of CIR:
We’ve come close to making the DREAM Act law before. Last Congress, our bill received 52 votes in the Senate, a majority vote – including 11 Republicans – but we needed 60 under Senate rules. Since then, support for the DREAM Act has grown and the bill now has 38 cosponsors. If Democrats and Republicans come together, we can pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation, including the DREAM Act, in 2010.
In the meantime, Senators Durbin and Lugar (R-IN) have urged DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano stop the deportations of those students eligible for the DREAM Act. Immigrant students have also been piling on the pressure, most recently by holding a hunger strike outside Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) Manhattan office. Hopefully, all of the pressure being exerted on both Congress and the Administration will persuade them to act before the end of the year.
Photo by daisymaxwell