by Michael J. Spychalski
I know a number of people were watching the DREAM Act vote very closely, but I doubt a lot of people know what D.R.E.A.M. stands for. It stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. The Act passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate 55 to 41. It is believed that this vote is the last for at least two years. To be eligible for the DREAM Act, a person must have entered the country when they were 15 or younger and graduated high school or obtained a GED. To receive a green card, the bill requires an applicant to complete two years in the military or two years of college, plus a 10-year waiting period. Only six years later would the applicant be eligible to apply for citizenship.
Why did the DREAM Act fail in the Senate? Senators felt that as long as illegal immigrants can still enter the country, the DREAM Act would not pass. These Senators want secure borders. They also want the DREAM Act to be a part of a comprehensive immigration reform package rather than a stand-alone piece of legislation. Some Senators felt that the bill was an amnesty that would encourage a flood of illegal immigrants to enter the country.
The DREAM Act has plenty of supporters. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are all supporting the DREAM Act as written. President Barack Obama has stated that he would continue pushing for the DREAM Act and other steps toward immigration reform. I believe that when the DREAM Act is presented to Congress again, there will be a full immigration reform package presented with it. Unfortunately, it could be years before this package is created and presented.