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Duncan Calls for Senate to Pass DREAM Act Before Adjourning

Expecting the U.S. Senate to cast a procedural vote on the DREAM Act tomorrow, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urged U.S. senators to "do the right thing" and back the proposed legislation that would give some undocumented youths a path to legalization in this country.

"It's the right thing to do for our country and the health of our country's economy," Duncan said in a call today with reporters. He added that he's been telephoning both Democratic and Republican senators, and will continue to make more calls today, to try to convince them to pass the legislation.

He said that the young people who would benefit from the measure are those who "have done everything right, have played by all the rules, who want to contribute to society." He said that passing the DREAM Act would enable about 65,000 undocumented youths who graduate from U.S. high schools each year to go on to college.

While the act got more backing from Democrats than from Republicans when it was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last week, Duncan said that "this has always been a bipartisan issue."

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, would provide a path to legalization for undocumented high school graduates who meet certain criteria and complete two years of college or military service. To be eligible, the graduates would have to have arrived in the United States before age 16 and be no older than 30. They also would have to have lived in this country for five continuous years and have no criminal record.

Critics of it say that it is amnesty for people who have broken the laws of this country.

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