DREAM Act Passes the House 216-198
Matt | On 08, Dec 2010
Tonight was an important step in the fight for immigration reform in the U.S.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010, better known as the DREAM Act, was passed in the House of Representatives by a margin of 216-198. The legislation allows the children of illegal immigrants to begin a path to citizenship as long as they are contributing members of American society.
The idea behind the bill is that minors who were brought to the U.S. illegally should not be deported for decisions they did not make as children.
There are a few requirements in the legislation for youth to begin their path to citizenship. In order to gain “non-immigrant” status, a person must have:
- Arrived in the U.S. prior to age 16
- Been under the age of 30 at the time of application
- Graduated from high school or obtained a GED certificate
- Been in the U.S. for five years prior to whenever the DREAM Act becomes law
- Been in good moral standing at the time of the application
- Never committed any deportable offenses.
After that list is met, the person could become a “permanent resident” of the U.S. once they complete two years of either college or military service. Sounds good to me!
Many Democrats and Latino activists are excited about the House victory. It is important to them to get the wheels turning on immigration reform since the debate went up in flames last year. Also, because we are in a lame-duck session of Congress, they know that their chances are slim to none of getting the measure passed in the more conservative upcoming Congress.
Though the DREAM Act passed the House, it still must go to the Senate where it’s unclear that it has the needed 60 votes for passage for it to become a law. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hopes that the passage in her chamber will incite the Senate to do the same.
The House vote was primarily along party lines. The GOP just doesn’t see any good coming out of this. They think it’s “mass amnesty” for illegals and a way for young terrorists to get in the country. I don’t agree. Yes, terrorism is a global problem. Inserting blanket fear into the debate doesn’t help, though.
Children often cannot choose where their families will settle. Think how a high school student would feel after working so hard in school for years, only to be deported before graduation. Mind you, they didn’t ask to come to the U.S. in the first place. They obviously followed their parents.
This country cannot continue to turn away from such a growing Latino population, many of whom lead productive lives in the U.S. Slamming the door in their face only to court them at election time is not the strategy we should see continue.
What do YOU think about the DREAM Act?