Portland-area students hold a rally Dec. 8, at City Hall in support of the DREAM Act. Many of the students cannot legally attend universities due to their immigration status.
‘Dream Act’ would apply to students
In a close vote of 216-198, the DREAM Act was adopted by the House on Dec. 8. Eight Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, which will allow some foreign-born young people who were illegally brought to the United States as children to become legal residents.
Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged Congress to pass the legislation, as it will help Napolitano’s department focus on deporting immigrants with criminal records, she said.
The Senate failed in September to pass the DREAM Act. The bill is in the pile of legislation awaiting action in the final days of the current Congress.
The bill applies to immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before 16, have been in the country at least 5years and have a U.S. high school diploma or equivalent. It would let them become U.S. residents after they’ve spent two years in college or the military.
Napolitano said it doesn’t make sense for her department to spend time and resources prosecuting young people who don’t have criminal records and who didn’t have a say in when they came to this country.
“What makes sense is to allow these young people a way to adjust their immigration status that is firm but fair,” Napolitano told reporters during a White House-organized conference call. President Barack Obama also supports the bill.