The DREAM Act – An Update

In light of the previous election season in the United States and President Obama’s mention of the DREAM Act in his State of the Union, immigration has become a highlighted issue in politics once again. The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), as originally written, proposes the granting of citizenship to illegal immigrants who were brought to the US at a young age, are of good moral standing, have attended US public school, and are pursuing higher education. The Act has always been controversial in the Senate and House of Representatives because of the mixed messages it could send to the immigrant community.

The candidates from the Republican Party made their opinion on the Act public: they were willing to pass it if it included that the individuals serve in the military. The Democrats, who are cautious in their decisions because of their hope to maintain the presidency, had mixed reactions. Some maintained their desire to pass the act in its entirety and disapproved of the Republican idea to include military service because it essentially tells illegal immigrants that to become citizens they must enlist in the armed forces.

Democrats have been criticized for their unwillingness to compromise on the requirements of the Act, which hindered its passing by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

In any event, the resurrection of discussion about the DREAM act is somewhat promising for immigrants, especially in the election season, because both political parties are hoping to win the approval of immigrant/Hispanic and voters.