OCTOBER 17, 2007
Legislation to give illegal immigrants reduced college tuition and U.S. citizenship will be slipped into a Health and Human Services bill to avoid the strong bipartisan challenge that has prevented it from becoming law for years.
Since 2001 immigration advocates have fought to pass the DREAM Act to allow illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 legal status and eventual citizenship as well as reduced tuition granted to legal residents at the nationâ??s public colleges and universities.
The controversial law has faced powerful opposition, however, and just weeks ago Democrats planned to sneak it into a defense authorization bill pending in the Senate to pass it swiftly. The move backfired when Republican opposition surmounted, threatening passage of the unrelated defense spending bill.
This week a well-connected national organization that strives to curb illegal immigration reports that the Dream Act will be attached as an amendment to a Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill on the Senate floor. Scarier is the fact that Senate staffers donâ??t even have the text of the amendment and there is a possibility that the unrelated human services bill will pass with the stealth attachment.
If the Dream Act does in fact become law, millions of illegal immigrants will receive the benefits with no caps or age limit on the applicants as long as they entered the U.S. illegally by the age of 16. The legal permanent resident status will, not only be extended indefinitely, it will be provided retroactively.
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