Lame-duck Senate to vote on DREAM Act this year

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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Sen. Harry Reid is reliving a DREAM by putting the partisan immigration bill onto the legislative calendar during the 2010 lame-duck session.

A day after President Obama met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and told its members that he backs the bill, the Senate majority leader appears confident enough to allow the issue to stand alone rather than be incorporated into any other legislation.

Previously Democrats tried to incorporate the DREAM act as well as the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” into the National Defense Authorization Act.

According to proponents, the DREAM act is the first step to comprehensive immigration reform as well as granting children of immigrants and students amnesty.

The new act also provides safe harbor for a number of different groups with at least 2.1 million people receiving amnesty through the act. Among some of the details:

• Anyone 35 and under will be eligible for permanent residency status

• Illegal immigrants that have been convicted of voter fraud, skipped previous deportation hearings or those who falsified their citizenship status could be granted amnesty.

• Those granted amnesty will not be required to complete any formal education in order to gain citizenship. Instead, those granted a stay must finish at least two years of higher education, although completion is not mandatory.