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Dream Act up for vote!

Copied from The Washington Post:

Immigration measure faces stiff headwind in Congress

 By Shankar Vedantam

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 8, 2010; 5:06 PM

Congress is expected to vote Wednesday afternoon on a measure to legalize undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The measure, known as the DREAM Act, seems likely to pass in the House of Representatives, but faces an uphill climb in the Senate, where advocates need – and do not seem to have – 60 votes to push the measure through Senate procedures.

The DREAM act seeks to confer legalized status on undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents, after they attend two years of college or sign up for the military.

Supporters of the measure say that it will avoid punishing those who had no say in coming to the country illegally and that it will result in better military readiness. The Congressional Budget Office recently took into account the costs of in-state tuition for DREAM act-eligible students and other expenses, and balanced the costs against the long-term enhancements in tax revenue that would come from having the young people be better educated. The CBO estimated that the measure would be a net plus for the economy.

Opponents of the measure, who include most Republicans but also some Democrats, say the measure is overly broad and creates a path to green cards and citizenship not only for those brought to the country as children, but indirectly through them for undocumented caregivers who knowingly broke the law.

The DREAM act once had bipartisan support in Congress, but the stiff headwinds facing the measure in Congress show how much the mood in the country has changed regarding illegal immigration.

Both advocates and critics of immigration believe that any attempt to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws faces will face even an even stiffer fight in the next two years, given the rhetoric being voiced by the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives.