Over the weekend Bloggingheads.tv posted an interesting back-and-forth on the DREAM Act between Josh Bernstein, immigration policy director for the Service Employees International Union, which supports the bill, and Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C. organization that advocates immigration restrictions.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would provide conditional legal status for undocumented young people who attend college or join the military. To qualify, they must have arrived in the United States before age 16 and be of "good moral character," among other things.
In the split-screen debate, the pair discusses the rationale for the proposed age limit (Krikorian would like to see it lowered), whether or not legalizing young people brought here illegally as minors encourages further illegal immigration, and what the bill's chances are of passing during the lame-duck session.
Both the Senate and House are expected to take up the bill this week. It faces stiff opposition, particularly in the Senate. Last week, Senate leadership introduced a tightened version of the DREAM Act with more restrictions, lowering the maximum cut-off age from under 35 to under 30 for applicants and extending the period of conditional legal residency from six years to 10.