The Dream Act Starts with You
Last week was an eventful time for the Dream Act. The vote in the House of Representatives was delayed to this week. Sen. Reid was quoted about his intentions to bring the bill to the Senate floor this week. Finally, in an effort to get the Republican vote, as well as some conservative democrats, Sen. Reid introduced some significant changes into the bill.
Changes to the Dream Act
It has been speculated that there have been no less than five versions of the bill. Hence, any information regarding the contents of the final bill, as it will be voted on, should be take with a grain of salt until the text of the bill is available. Following are some likely changes.
The language that “Eliminat[ed the] repeal of the in-state tuition ban” is likely removed from the bill. There is an existing federal law that bans in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, but the law is being challenged as unconstitutional, which is why there are in-state tuition for undocumented students laws in some states. Removal of the in-state tuition language will get us more votes and decrease the misinformation about the bill granting special tuition breaks to undocumented students.
Other changes might include paying back taxes, extension of the conditional residency status to 10 years from 6, and the return of the age cap -- you must be under 30 years to qualify. (AILA)
The House was set to vote on Dream Act last week, however, on Thursday Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL) announced that they had run out of time. Delays in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) were to blame. The CBO eventually estimated that the Dream Act will reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion dollars. The House vote will be held this week. (Hill)
Sen. Reid announced that he will file the cloture motion on the Dream Act tomorrow, placing the actual cloture vote on Wednesday Dec. 8th. The cloture vote is procedural and necessary to eliminate the possibility of a Republican filibuster. Another, and final, vote must be held after the cloture vote for the bill to pass the Senate.
Sen. Reid intends to tackle the Dream Act along other similarly sized measures before taking on larger measures, such as the Bush tax cuts, the week after. On Saturday, Sen. Reid claimed that the decision to file motion for cloture on the Dream Act and other measures has been reach in agreement with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). (Hill) However, Republicans have vowed to block any vote brought up before the Bush tax cuts. (Politico) This sets us up for the possibility that Sen. Reid will file for cloture on Monday, with Republican agreement, only to see the vote fall to a Republican filibuster on Wednesday handing the Republican party another victory. Call and email Sen. Reid:
Pick up and dial: (202) 224-3542
“Sen. Reid, we’re paying attention to the Dream Act. We fought to witness a victory, not to witness another filibuster.”
Currently, the Senate is scheduled to adjourn on December 17 for Christmas recess.
The White House hosted conference calls and a web chat to answer questions about the legislation. (The White House Blog) The White House blog has not reported that Pres. Obama made personal calls to legislators who are on the fence about the bill. On November 16th, Pres. Obama has promised to make personal calls when the Dream Act is up for consideration. Call the White House to ask that the President himself picks up the phone, as promised.
Pick up and dial: (202)-456-1111
“I urge President Obama to keep his promise and place personal calls to legislators to vote YES on Dream Act this week.”