How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Readers on DREAM Act vs. 'DREAM-light'

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student activist's t-shirt, December 2010

A recent post detailed the results of a poll suggesting that while most Latino voters prefer the original versionof the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to some undocumented youths who go to college or join the military, they are divided over a slimmed-down alternative, dubbed "DREAM-light" in the report.

The original Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act proposes granting conditional legal status to undocumented college students and military hopefuls who arrived in the U.S. before age 16, with a path to citizenship. But the measure has been stalled in Congress for a decade. It was voted down in the Senate in late 2010, and the latest version introduced last year by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois has yet to advance.

In the meantime, two Republican lawmakers from Florida have introduced their own alternatives. The "DREAM-light" refers to a forthcoming proposal being floated by Sen. Marco Rubio, which would also offer these young people temporary legal status, but without a clear path to citizenship. And Rep. David Rivera has introduced two measures, including the new Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status (STARS) Act, which would benefit undocumented students who graduate with four-year degrees, and the less-popular Adjusted Residency Status (ARMS) Act, a military-only version that would benefit those who enlist.