Friday, March 28, 2008

Believing in the dream

-- by Dave

I think those of us who advocate comprehensive immigration reform recognize that getting there is going to be a long, slow row. But along the way, there are opportunities to help push reform forward in incremental steps.

One of these is the DREAM Act:
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (also called "The DREAM Act") is a piece of proposed federal legislation in the United States that would provide high school students who are long term undocumented immigrants with good moral character and who wish to attend college or serve in the armed forces to be able to gain legal status.

The bill, in various incarnations, has been introduced several times in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the House it has never been brought to a floor vote as a stand-alone bill; in the Senate it was finally brought for debate on the floor on October 24, 2007, and though it was able to gain a majority vote it failed to gain cloture by a 52-44 vote, 8 votes short of overcoming a filibuster.[1] The text of the bill has also been included in various other immigration-related bills, including the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Acts of 2006 and 2007, though none so far has been successful.

It's an important first step in opening up a path to citizenship for immigrants and their children, which is a cornerstone of any larger progressive approach to immigration reform.

Robert Greenwald, whose Brave New Films outfit has done such great work exposing Fox News and Wal-Mart, among other targets, has turned his focus on getting the DREAM act. He's set up a Web site where you can sign a petition urging the remaining presidential candidates to support the bill:
All three presidential hopefuls co-sponsored the federal DREAM Act, yet it has never been made law. The DREAM Act would enable states to grant in-state tuition to these hardworking immigrant students, making higher education (and eventually citizenship) a real possibility.

It's a worthy cause, and well worth your signature.

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