For a lame-duck session, members of the outgoing 111th Congress have a full and controversial plate: tax cuts, debt ceilings, and unemployment benefits are just some of the items on the agenda of Congress in the last few lame-duck weeks. But perhaps the most politically charged issue is immigration, in the form of the DREAM Act that was first proposed in 2001 and has been hotly debated ever since. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act creates a path to citizenship for children who were under the age of 16 when they were illegally brought into the U.S. and who attend college or have joined the military. Passing the act as been a promised priority of the Obama Administration and countless Democratic Congress members, while Republicans have almost universally opposed the bill, characterizing it as a backdoor way to amnesty. On their way out the door the Democratic majority is pushing for a decisive vote on the DREAM Act perhaps as soon as this week, which could set a nasty tone for the broader work on immigration reform that remains to be done. Should undocumented students have a path to citizenship and is this move by the Democrats better politics than policy?
Congressman Xavier Becerra, D-31st District, which includes the Los Angeles area; Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
Steven Camarota, Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies
Pedro Ramirez, Student Body President at Cal State Fresno
Leslie Berenstein Rojas, writer of the Multi-American Immigration blog for KPCC
Luis Perez, UCLA law school graduate who is an undocumented immigrant