Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

Currently: 81° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

The Policy Racket

Harry Reid reintroduces the DREAM Act

Action from Democrats follows Obama’s call for immigration reform

Image

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters on Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 3, 2011, following the Democrats’ weekly policy luncheon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reintroduced the DREAM Act in the Senate on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after President Obama called on Congress to take steps forward on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would put the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants on a pathway toward citizenship.

The DREAM Act is only one piece of the immigration puzzle, but it caters to a group of undocumented immigrants who are considered the most sympathetic: it provides a route to citizenship for current college students and military enlistees who were brought to the U.S. as dependent children, through no fault of their own.

Because it’s a fairly popular provision of the immigration bill, the DREAM Act has served both as the linchpin to hold together the diverse array of enforcement enhancements and visa expansions that collectively comprise “comprehensive immigration.” It also serves as the last and best hope to give undocumented immigrants -- and by extension, the majority of the Hispanic voting community -- some sort of victory to hang their hat on.

In the last few years though, even the DREAM Act has proven impossible to get past the Senate. Last year, Reid tried to bring it to the floor twice: the first time, pre-midterm election 2010, its fate perished with a defense authorization bill; and the second, during the lame-duck period, it fell five votes short of passing a needed filibuster-proof hurdle. The final Senate vote, 55-41, closely reflected the country’s attitude toward the legislation at the time, as captured in a Gallup poll, which found 54 percent of American citizens wanted the DREAM Act, while 42 percent did not.

The Democrat-controlled House did pass the bill last December, by a slim margin.

While Reid did not get his full caucus of 59 Democrats to support the DREAM Act last year, most Republicans who have supported the measure in years past -- such as Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Jon Kyl of Arizona, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- also withheld their votes, objecting that an independent piece of amnesty-granting legislation shouldn’t be allowed to move without some sort of counterbalance to increase immigration enforcement, which was the original concept behind the more comprehensive approaches to immigration changes.

McCain added Wednesday that he’d “also like to see them introduce legislation that also calls for a guest worker program.

Reid indicated Wednesday he’d consider attaching the DREAM Act to one workplace enforcement measure that’s expected to move through the House later this year: a measure to require all employers to use E-Verify, the government’s Internet-based work eligibility verification system.

In congressional cycles past, the loudest immigration advocates have balked at such an expansion, arguing that error rates in the system, which has been shown to be more than 99 percent accurate but depends on Social Security data that is faulty about 4 percent of the time, mean it’s not ready for a full roll-out. But Reid suggested that “it may be the vehicle we need over here to get this done.”

If that means the plan is to push for a somewhat dressed-up DREAM Act instead of a full comprehensive immigration reform bill -- for which lawmakers say there is a “chance” but don’t seem particularly convinced that the 112th Congress is the best chance -- it won’t come as a surprise, given the Democrats’ depleted majority in the Senate, and the Republican leadership in the House. While immigration has never been an issue that cleaves precisely along party lines, the bulk of its backers are Democrats.

But Reid hasn’t said when he plans to move on the DREAM Act yet.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 12 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Comment removed by moderator.

  2. If the DREAM Act includes mandatory use of e-Verify, what is the basis for serious opposition? The one-percent error rate? Silly.

  3. I see he didn't waste anytime on that one. Of course he introduced it...thinking more votes for him. However, there are serious flaws with this and everyone but Harry and Obama know it...this is a sure way to kill an immigration bill. And by the way...WHY in tarnation isn't E-Verify MANDATORY for EVERY business that hires regardless of whether we have an immigration bill or not!!! Come on people...use your brains...that should have been a separate bill introduced by Congress to the nation YEARS and YEARS ago.

  4. I totally agree with Senator Reid bringing this forward for a vote. The Republicans keep pushing it away and it's time to force them to act and approve it, vote no or stand on their head in a corner...SOMETHING...but they need to go down on paper what they intend regarding this issue.

    If the DREAM Act don't happen, then clearly something else needs to be done...and done in a rational manner...not screaming about illegal aliens and demonizing them and other stupid draconian policies like the Republican held idiocracy of Arizona wants to do where they would like to do anything and everything short of shoot on sight.

    Anyways, the Republicans will be required to go down on paper that they don't care and disapprove any and all issues relating to immigration.

    Just like they vote to kill off senior citizens with a proven inferior Medicaid/Medicare Program in order to provide for the permanent passage of the Bush tax cuts for the filthy rich.

    I love it when Democrats go on the attack. When they do it, they make sure the Republicans go down emphatically on paper they wish to destroy America.

    Bring on 2012.

    I will lead the vanguard at the voting booths that will slap out of power every Republican in sight.

    Enough of their stupid shenanigans. We got a country to rebuild and it's not time to play party politics all the time.

    We need to shove them out of the way, ensure they are outside in the cold looking in the window...for a very, very long time.

  5. we already have laws in effect that deal with immigration,if they chose not to follow them and we change the laws for this reason who wins ?follow the rules from day one and become a citizen and then you can slowly change the laws the right way.

  6. They are dreaming if they think they'll pass it.

    Mexico's college education is often just as good, its cheaper, and the coat of living down there is less. I'd just go to Mexico, or whatever country I'm officially from, instead of going to a place like UNLV (where you can't get classes anyway.)

    option 1 - go to a college in your country of citizenship.

    option 2 - go to college in a third country

    option 3 - go to college in the USA as a foreign student

    option 4 - apply for legal residence in the USA, and attend here as a US student.

    There are grants, loans, work study for all the above options.

    The "my life is ruined unless the dream act is passed" doesn't make sense.

  7. Francis, nobody reads that drivel. I made it about three sentences in.

  8. Hey Francis...
    All I'm gettin' is clicks & buzzes...you say sumptin?

    "it provides a route to citizenship for current college students and military enlistees who were brought to the U.S. as dependent children, through no fault of their own."

    Now, teabaggers & NeoNuts...
    What, pray tell, do you disagree with about the above?
    THIS IS WHAT IT IS,
    Let's cut out the CRAP.
    The rest of what you're arguing about is NOT PART OF THE EQUATION.
    You're arguing facts not in evidence, as per usual.

  9. "the Tea Party is continually growing and now (numbers) in the tens of millions"...Francis, poor, delusional Francis, it appears that you've been drinking some incredibly potent Tea.

  10. Hypocrites! That's what bone-head, brain-dead, pinko-leftist, bleeding-hearts are! gmag39 touts one part of one line: "through no fault of their own.' Yet, I'll bet a dollar to a donut, that gmag39 has no problem killing the unborn even though the pregnancy is "through no fault of their own!" The poisonous lefties are all about "choice" when it comes to killing the unborn, but adamantly against it when it comes to giving minorities and the poorest among us the opportunity to get an education free of indoctrination. Yeah, some sweethearts lefists like gmag39 are! Just don't turn your back on them.

  11. DREAM that you serve 6 years military, forget the collage part, that is a privilege. Of course we all know when the DREAM kid is no longer illegal he/she applies for parents to "come in" immediately and therefore adds votes to the democratic party..

  12. Immigration laws and policies that already exist should be ENFORCED NOW!!!!

    But political corruption and pandering has literally kept our American borders wide open and our social systems servicing criminals who are here ILLEGALLY, where the legal citizens of the USA are hard pressed to obtain reasonable, if any, services.

    THIS MUST STOP.

    Being a teacher, I feel for the students who are brought here by illegal parents who typically refuse to follow through by becoming USA citizens. The majority of illegal aliens live in the USA and use our country/county/city/community's services and goodwill of the people here, and never bother themselves with the process of becoming a USA citizen. There is a certain shame in that. Their kids feel it.

    What needs to happen, is providing education for those children who are here, in our schools, living the American life in all aspects, other than the fact of being illegally smuggled here, and a path towards becoming legitimate USA citizens. The DREAM ACT is not perfect, but it is a start, especially with all the bickering that goes on in Washington, D.C.!

    The parents of such children, need to be identified, rounded up, put on birth control, and given clearly the alternative to become a USA citizen within a timeframe or be deported (them and the whole family/including anchor babies). Keep in mind that most of the illegals are lucky to leave their country of origin with anything better than a third grade education. Our government needs to keep it simple so that they can comply and work on becoming legal citizens.