DREAM Act Introduced in the House and Senate

FAIR Legislative Update, Federation for American Immigration Reform, March 30, 2009

As the latest move intended to flex their legislative muscle, amnesty supporters in Congress last week re-introduced the DREAM Act (also known as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act). Authored by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) (S.729) and Congressman Howard Berman (H.R.1751), the DREAM Act grants amnesty to a broad range of individuals who meet certain minimal educational requirements and broad definitions relating to student status.

While the text of the legislation has not been officially posted, previous versions of the bill have:

* granted broad-based amnesty to illegal aliens who entered the country before a certain age if they can meet minimal educational standards;

* changed federal law to allow states to subsidize college tuition for illegal aliens even when that subsidy is not available to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants attending a state college; and

* rendered moot any lawsuits filed by U.S. citizens against a state or colleges when state law allowed colleges to grant in-state tuition without offering the same benefit to U.S. citizens not residing in the state. (FAIR Legislative Analysis, May 2007).

Immigration reformers and political observers are waiting to see whether the text of latest DREAM Act is more or less restrictive.

The Senate bill has 7 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy (D-MA) as well as Republican Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Mel Martinez (R-FL). The House bill has 9 co-sponsors, including House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), and Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

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