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The "DREAM Act" Is Reintroduced in Congress

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Once again, there's a bill before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that would enable graduates of U.S. schools who are undocumented immigrants--and who meet certain criteria--to get in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities in their states. Organizations that are advocating for passage of the bill, such as the National Council of La Raza, say that about 65,000 youths who are undocumented are granted high school diplomas in this country each year.

The bill also would give undocumented youths who meet certain criteria a path to legalization, so that if they earn a college education, they have a chance to get a job in their field of study. It's practically impossible, for example, to be hired as a teacher in U.S. schools if you don't have papers to live legally in this country.

A full text of the bill, S. 774, wasn't available yet in the "Thomas" Web library of the Library of Congress this afternoon, but a summary was available.

Some states already provide in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, but many do not. I wrote about this issue last spring, when legislators in many states and in the U.S. Congress were discussing how illegal immigration should be addressed.

A version of this bill-- called the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act--was first introduced in 2001. Its legislative high-water mark so far was approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 2003, which was noted in Education Week. Last year, it was part of the comprehensive immigration package introduced in, but never approved by, the full Senate.

According to a March 6 press release from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's office, the Massachusetts senator and Arizona senator John McCain, as well as U.S. Reps. Jeff Flake, of Arizona, and Luis V. Gutierrez, of Illinois, are making final a new, comprehensive immigration bill that they expect to introduce in mid-March. Sen. Kennedy is the chairman of the Immigration, Refugees and Border Control Subcommittee in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Cecilia Muñoz, the senior vice president for the office of research, advocacy, and legislation of the National Council of La Raza, noted at a Feb. 28 policy meeting in Washington sponsored by Hispanic advocacy groups that the DREAM Act is expected to be introduced as part of that new immigration bill as well. She said that the DREAM Act should become law because "every year that goes by we lose tens of thousands of students who should go on to higher education."

4 Comments

The DREAM Act is another way to reward illegal immigrants. Parents who bring their foreign national children into America are using our system for a free public school education, now we are supposed to give these noncitizen students instate tuition and a path to citizenship simply because they are here and have broken the law successfully for years. It is sad what these parents have done to their children -- placing them in a position in which they have no country -- but it is not the problem of U.S. citizens to solve it. For every foreign national illegal who takes a place in a college, an American youth will be denied an education. And for every DREAM Act student who is given citizenship, another immigrant chain will be begun, starting doubtless with the parents who carried the child into our nation illegaly. The DREAM Act is a NIGHTMARE and part of getting piecemeal the amnesty that Americans have made clear they do not want to be given to illegals.

I think that the DREAM Act would be of great benefit to some illegal immigrants. There are several immigrants who have entered the country illegally and as children, went through the public school system and have even graduated college with honors and would love to enter the workforce. These individuals has taken advantage of the opportunity in education and will add value to the workforce. So I hope the DREAM Act will get passed just for these hard working immigrants. I personally don't think that immigrants are the reason American youths are "denied" an education. Let's face it education is there , the choice is yours whether or not you want to take advantage of it


Dollars and Sense

i believe the DREAM act is a great opportunity for all the illegal immigrant students in the u.s. im personally a high school graduate myself, and for me the DREAM act is a dream come true. with this act i will be able to realize my goal in life to become a micro-biologist. i set all my hopes on this act, as well as many other students.

re:Anonyma


i disaggree with you, i understand americans are mad because of illegal immigrant, but you need to understand to think the DREAM ACT, this is for children who came to United States when they were kid, i came to United States when i was 15 and now i`m 19 and i learn english and i will graduate this year and have a DIPLOMA, Students that receives such a DIPLOMA from high school should be get respect from other people not to hate them, you know all the goal and key before you entering the real world is to get DIPLOMA, i notice most people that recieve DIPLOMA always go to higher education, is that how it is in this country?

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