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:


In the news this morning: The Dream Act returns, Obama on immigration reform in El Paso, Utah immigration law blocked, more

Democrats to reintroduce DREAM Act - Scott Wong - Politico Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and other Democrats are announcing the reintroduction of the bill this morning. The proposed legislation would grant conditional legal status to certain undocumented youths who arrived as minors.

Obama, in border visit, renews call for immigration reform - The Washington Post President Obama declared yesterday in El Paso that “we have strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible,” while rallying support for broader reforms.

Ga. college student a reluctant immigration symbol - Associated Press College student Jessica Colotl was charged with driving without a license before she was turned over to immigration authorities and detained.

Federal judge blocks Utah immigration law - Reuters A federal judge yesterday temporarily blocked a controversial Utah immigration law that required police to check the immigration status of those they detain for serious crimes.


God, country, or both? A reader's take on the American Muslims-Muslim Americans quandary

Photo by NewMediaNormaRae/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Marching in last year's annual Muslim Day parade in New York, September 26, 2010

A guest post yesterday examined the uncomfortable position in which Muslims in the United States have found themselves during the past decade, forced to defend their patriotism in the post-9/11 era. Part of this involves self-identification: Should they identify themselves as American Muslims, or as Muslim Americans?

KPCC intern Yasmin Nouh looked at different arguments for identifying as one or the other, including one Muslim blogger's argument that using "American Muslim" helps diffuse "the foundational attacks that Muslims are not real Americans and that Islam is a threat to America."

Reader Josy, NYC posted a thoughtful comment that pointed out how, while under quite different circumstances, similar discussions have taken place among other minority groups when patriotism is questioned. She wrote:


Report: Immigration tops the list for Latino voters, and it's personal

Photo by nathangibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Source: Latino Decisions

President Obama's speech in El Paso, Texas today regarding immigration reform has been characterized by some as an effort to appeal to Latino voters while defending his immigration record. And for good reason, a new poll indicates, because the Latino electorate remains focused on immigration as a front-burner issue.

The poll measured the importance of immigration as a federal policy issue with different subsets of Latino voters; it is one of a series of tracking polls conducted by impreMedia (the parent company of La Opinión) and the polling firm Latino Decisions.

According to the results, Latino voters who were asked to identify the most important issues that leaders in Washington, D.C. should address placed immigration at the top of the list overall, above the economy, education and health care.


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.