House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to push for a vote during the lame-duck session on a bill that would legalize young, undocumented immigrants if they attend college or serve in the military, according to Democratic sources familiar with a leadership conference call Wednesday.
A vote on the bill, known as the DREAM Act, could come as early as next week, the sources said. Pelosi asked Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) to assess the mood of the caucus, according to one source.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had previously announced that he plans to bring up the DREAM Act during the lame duck session. His spokesman said Wednesday that Reid still hopes to call a vote.
The move by Democratic leaders to put immigration back on the legislative calendar will win support from Latinos, whose strong turnout numbers in the West last week were credited with helping the party hold on to control of the Senate. Immigration advocates have pressed Democrats to move on the DREAM Act as a “down-payment” on their promise to push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the future.
The DREAM Act provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants if they were in the United States before age 16, and if they have been residents for five years before enactment of the law. They would need to attend college for two years or join the military.