The hundreds of undocumented students have held marches and sit-ins nationwide to pressure congress to pass the DREAM Act may be getting their wish—if President Obama and three high-profile Latino politicians have anything to say about it.
In a meeting with Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), and Reps Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) and Nydia Velazquez (D-New York), he promised to help them push for the Dream Act to pass during the current lame-duck congressional session, before the year is out and newly-elected, mostly Republican congress members sweep into office.
“We have a unique opportunity to enact the DREAM Act before Congress adjourns this year, assisting young people currently victimized by our broken immigration system,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, in a statement. “President Obama assured us he will help build bipartisan support necessary for passage of the legislation.”
If passed, the DREAM Act would allow minors brought into the country illegally to qualify for citizenship if they agree to attend college or sign up for military service. Gutierrez says he has been told personally by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she’d like to see a House vote on the bill this year. In the Senate side, Harry Reid has also expressed consistent support for its passage this year. But it’s still unclear whether there are enough votes in congress to see it through, though the DREAM Act has enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle.
That’s where the three congress members and Obama come in, promising to work the phones and persuade enough Republicans to make it happen.
“I will not pass up the chance to save a million or more children who grew up in the U.S., who know no other country, and who are threatened with deportation unless we act,” said Gutierrez in a statement—adding that passing the DREAM Act would be "an achievable" down payment for comprehensive immigration reform.