How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'Future doctors, soldiers, journalists:' The federal Dream Act returns


Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


A homemade poster in a makeshift call center last year for student Dream Act supporters, December 2010


The Dream Act will soon be reintroduced in the Senate, though no date has been set for when it will brought to the floor. Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois and other prominent Senate Democrats announced their plans this morning to bring back the long-lived immigration bill, which passed the House last December but failed in the Senate.

The proposed legislation, versions of which have been circulating for a decade, would grant conditional legal status to certain undocumented young people who were brought to this country as minors, so long as they attend college or enlist in the military.

“These young people were brought to the United States as children,” Durbin said. “They grew up in this country…they can be our future doctors, soldiers, journalists, and even United States senators."

It's still unclear how this version of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act will differ from previous versions. According to Durbin's office, the basic requirements for eligibility are similar to those in the bill last voted on. Applicants will need to:

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The federal Dream Act prepares for a comeback

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


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.

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