The federal Dream Act prepares for a comeback

A student’s bold statement, December 8, 2010. Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

From Leslie Berestein Rojas:

Details are scarce, but a spokesman for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) confirmed this morning that Durbin has plans to reintroduce the proposed immigration legislation at an event in Washington, D.C. tomorrow.

Immigrant rights advocates had been speculating yesterday on the possible re-introduction this week of the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would allow certain undocumented youths to obtain conditional legal status.

In its most recent version, which passed the House but failed to clear the Senate last December, conditional legal status would have been granted to young people brought here as minors before age 16 who either went to college or joined the military.

Durbin, a longtime champion of the bill, had promised earlier this year that he would bring it back. There are no details yet on what the reintroduced bill would look like. The bill voted on last December was pared down from earlier versions, with a lowered age threshold for those eligible and other tightened provisions.

President Obama, who is addressing immigration reform today during his visit to El Paso, Texas, has also been a vocal Dream Act supporter. Advocacy groups in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles had been anticipating for the bill to be reintroduced this week or next.

Late yesterday, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles issued a press release stating that the federal bill would be reintroduced in the Senate this week with 27 sponsors. The list of sponsors was not available, however, said CHIRLA spokesman Jorge-Mario Cabrera, and questions were being referred to Durbin’s staff.

More details will be available after tomorrow, according to Durbin’s office.

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