DREAM Act vote offers citizenship for service or schooling

Military

The DREAM Act provides a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who serve in the military. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In a party-line vote yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act offers a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens who came into the country as children. The DREAM act may well be subject to Senate filibuster, however.

The DREAM Act ‘path to citizenship’

The DREAM Act is a bill intended specifically to target children that are brought into the United States as illegal immigrants before they are 16 years old. Young adults who apply for citizenship through the DREAM Act would be given a six-year “temporary” status. During that time, they would be required to go to college on their own dime or serve in the United States military.

The effect of the DREAM Act

The debate over the DREAM Act has been very heated. Some are calling this an “amnesty” bill that would give 2 million illegal immigrants a right to be in the country legally. Others take issue with the fact that these immigrants would be able to pay in-state tuition for school. Proponents of the bill, however, point out that the bill targets only young adults who were not given an option in coming to the country. The six-year “trial period” would provide them nothing other than a legal right to be in the country; no PELL grants, no welfare, just an opportunity to “prove themselves.”

DREAM Act vote status

Though the DREAM Act passed the House of representatives on a 216-198 mostly party-line vote, it may not become law. The Senate may filibuster the passage of the DREAM Act, preventing it from passing. The Homeland Security Secretary and Education Secretary have both come out in support of the DREAM Act. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that if the DREAM Act does pass, the increased economic activity and reduced enforcement costs would decrease the federal deficit by $1.4 billion. If the DREAM Act does pass the Senate, President Obama has said he will sign it.

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