Friday, April 24, 2009

DREAM Act debate

The New York Times has a discussion this week on the DREAM Act. This legislation, sponsored by Senators Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois, and Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana, addresses the situation faced by young people who were brought to the United States years ago as undocumented immigrant children and who have since grown up here, stayed in school, and kept out of trouble. If enacted, the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act would
  • Permit certain immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for temporary legal status and to eventually obtain permanent status and become eligible for U.S. citizenship if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military; and
  • Eliminate a federal provision that penalizes states that provide in-state tuition without regard to immigration status.
Supporter of the legislation argue that
It would give lawful status to children brought to America by events beyond their control. They have grown up here, are fully integrated, and know no other country. Instead of being rounded up and deported, they will contribute to America, starting when they meet requirements that they go to college or serve in the military.
Opponents say that it is an amnesty
designed to politically leverage the dilemma of the most sympathetic group of illegals into a more general amnesty.
The most recent status of the DREAM Act is that a bipartisan group of senators introduced it to the latest Congress on March 26, 2009. AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association) estimates that 65,000 undocumented young people who have spent their childhoods in America would be impacted by this important piece of legislation annually.

College Board, the nation's recognized leader in assisting students in the transition to higher education, recently issued a report supporting the DREAM Act.

Photo by Lisa Weston

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