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Monday, September 20, 2010


Will Immigration Get a Fair Fight on the Senate Floor?
With dizzying speed this week, immigration advocates went from gloomy to galvanized with the announcement that Senator Reid intended to bring the DREAM Act to the floor as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. To further add to the euphoria, Senator Menendez announced that he would introduce actual comprehensive immigration reform legislation sometime soon. President Obama made another speech in support of DREAM and broad reform, and met privately with Congressional Hispanic Caucus leaders to seal the deal on DREAM support. For a political movement starved for actual action, all this activity was like a shot of adrenaline. Read more...

President Obama Throws White House Support Behind DREAM Act
Yesterday, President Obama met with Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members, chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to discuss movement of the DREAM Act. In a lead up to the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced plans earlier this week to bring the DREAM Act to a vote, attaching the measure to the Defense Authorization bill to be voted on next week. While GOP opposition to this bipartisan immigration amendment remains high, President Obama pledged his support at an event last night, despite previous concerns that passing the DREAM Act will detract from a larger immigration overhaul. Read more...

Congressional Leaders Announce Forthcoming Immigration Bill, Support for DREAM and a White House Meeting
At a forum Wednesday in Washington, D.C., faith, civic, community and Congressional leaders gathered to rally the immigration reform faithful, endorse Sen. Reid's (D-NV) DREAM Act amendment, announce the introduction of a forthcoming immigration overhaul bill in the U.S. Senate and a meeting with President Obama this week on immigration. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced  that he will introduce a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill - one that addresses the nation's economic and security needs - presumably during the lame duck session while Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) revealed a meeting  between herself, President Obama, Sen. Menendez, and Rep. Gutierrez to discuss immigration, deportations and the DREAM Act. The forum also highlighted personal stories from legal permanent residents (LPRs) - military veterans, mothers, families - and the complications of being caught up in a broken immigration system. Read more...

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to Bring DREAM Act to a Vote
In the absence of an immigration overhaul, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced yesterday that he will attached the DREAM Act as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill next week. The DREAM Act, which enjoys bipartisan support, would provide legal status to students who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 15, have lived in the U.S for at least five years, graduated from a U.S. high school and are pursuing their education or serving in the military. Some fear the DREAM Act will detract from a larger immigration overhaul; others see it as a "down payment" toward broader reform; while critics see it as a political calculation needed to turn out Hispanic voters for midterms. But however you slice it, the question remains whether Sen. Reid can muster the 60 votes necessary for cloture. Read more...

Secretary Napolitano Urges Latinos to Vote in Midterms if Congress is to Reform Immigration
Yesterday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano visited the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) with one clear message: the Latino community must turn out in force in November in order set the table for passing comprehensive immigration reform next year, telling the group that "your voice is your vote, man." Secretary Napolitano also confronted the "secure the border first" rhetoric opponents consistently use to stall reform efforts, urging lawmakers to "quit moving the goal posts" and pointing out that the administration has met Congressional border benchmarks. Read more...

Balancing Family Immigration with Our Economic Needs
In his most recent book, Brain Gain: Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy, author Darrell M. West argues that "U.S. immigration policy went seriously off course after Congress passed legislation in 1965 making family unification the overarching principle in immigration policy... We need to re-conceptualize immigration as a brain gain and competitiveness enhancer for the United States." While the book may serve as a much-needed conversation starter, West, unfortunately, fails to delve beyond the superficial. We do need to have a serious conversation about balancing family immigration with our economic needs in the context of reforming the nation's immigration system, but West's book ends up pitting skilled-based immigration against family-based immigration - a juxtaposition that does little to move the debate forward.

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Read about how the DREAM Act could unlock the door to the American dream for thousands of young people each year:

Creating Opportunities for Immigrant Students and Supporting the U.S. Economy

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