Support for the Dream Act Grows During Congress` lame duck session
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Support for the Dream Act Grows During Congress` lame duck session

November 18, 2010, 10:28 am
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by Moses Apsan, Esq.

November 18, 2010 - Fear is a powerful motivator. Adrenaline rushes throughout the body and man is capable of doing almost super human acts.  Such is what may happen on November 29th when the Dream Act has been set for a vote in the House of Representatives. 

Following  a meeting between President Obama and Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership, New York Rep. Nydia Velasquez  announced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tentatively set Nov. 29 as the date to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote.

President Obama has been a diligent  DREAM Act supporter, but has done little to move the act forward and in fact ,has taken a hard line on immigration violations by having Homeland Security work methodically to locate and deport immigration violators and has simultaneously shored up the Mexican border.

Now Obama wants the DREAM Act passed in the lame duck session as a “down payment” on future comprehensive immigration reform.

According to a White House statement “[t]he President and the CHC leaders believe that, before adjourning, Congress should approve the DREAM Act. This legislation has traditionally enjoyed support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and would give young people who were brought as minors to the United States by their parents the opportunity to earn their citizenship by pursuing a college degree or through military service.”

Both New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, proponents of  a more comprehensive immigration reform bill, were also in the White House meeting, which led to  Gutierrez commenting that  “Passage of the DREAM Act is achievable right now.” … “With the White House, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and every Democratic Leader in the House and Senate pulling in the same direction, we can pass the DREAM Act before the end of the 111th Congress.”

The fight for the Dream Act has been building up to a crescendo.  Recent activities by students remind us of the anti-war vietnam rallies in the sixties. 

For eight days students at the University of Texas at San Antonio staged a hunger strike in support of immigration reform.  The  students would not not eat until U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison votes in support of the DREAM Act.  Lisette Mondello, a Hutchison spokeswoman told the students that “The senator has consistently stated that she cannot support the current DREAM Act legislation in its present form, but that she was willing to work toward an acceptable legislative product,” making it appear that she would support the bill with some modifications.

Just last month  a group of college students appeared  at the state Capitol to looking for support for the DREAM Act.  They called themselves the Dream Army and they hoped to the  persuade Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to vote for the bill.

This Saturday, there will be an all-day Connecticut DREAM Summit at Dwight Hall at Yale University. On Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., there will be a program on undocumented students at the  Western Connecticut State University's midtown student center theater. 

And Students from all parts of Los Angeles area held several events last week to push Congress to pass the DREAM Act.

Events such as these are happening thoughout the country and more is expected as we near November 29.

Majority Leader Harry Reid who recently struggled though a election with opponent Sharron Angle, a Tea Party nominee, thankful for the  hispanic vote that pushed him through the finish line, vowed to move the immigration bill to the floor during the lame-duck session. Angle's attitude is similar to many of the Tea Party republicans when she stated during an election debate that "the solution is simple: Secure the borders, enforce the laws. I think every state should have a sheriff like Joe Arpaio, and I think we should be supporting states like Arizona."

The DREAM Act, which has been unable to clear republican filibuster threats for years, is fighting for its life to become law before the republican takeover of the Congress in January.  Fear of the Tea Party anti-immigrant republicans  and some say racist attitudes have fueled this final push during the lame duck session.

More than 3 million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year, and about 65,000 are illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. 'There are approximately  825,000 young immigrants that would benefit form the Dream Act. The overwhelming  majority under the age of 35, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Critics call the Dream Act an amnesty and argue the border has to  be secured before passing any law that would benefit those illegal in the country.

The critics, for reasons of their own, have failed to understand that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this year, nearly 10 percent above the Bush administration's 2008 total and will also penalize employers who hire undocumented workers.  Company audits has almost quadrupled since President George W. Bush's final year in office.

Author: Moises Apsan
Attorney with over 32 years of experience. Past president Federal Bar Association NJ Chapter (1997-2002). Offices in Astoria, NY, Newark, NJ. Tel: 877-873-8510 and
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