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House Republicans warming up to Dream Act

For years, the Dream Act has been discussed by lawmakers in Congress, but it has never gained the support it needed to be passed into law. Essentially, the Dream Act would provide permanent residency to young immigrants who were brought into the country as children, have good moral character, graduated from high school and have lived in the United States for the past five years continuously.

Though the Dream Act resulted from bi-partisan efforts, there has never been enough Republican support of the measure for approval; however, new reports suggest that House Republicans are taking a second look at the idea. Reportedly, Republicans hope that a variation of the Dream Act could help reach a compromise between Republicans and Democrats and make immigration reform a possibility this legislative session.

But House Democrats might not be agreeable to the idea, which they could consider as being not enough. Some young immigrants who would be granted permanent residency under the Dream Act have also voiced opposition to the idea, saying that they will not support a measure that excludes their parents and other relatives.

Instead, these individuals back the Senate's version of immigration reform, which would eventually grant citizenship to some 11 million undocumented immigrants. House Republicans have made clear that they will not approve the Senate's version of immigration reform and oppose granting citizenship to those who entered the country illegally.

Though House Republicans in support of a Dream-like measure have conceded that children who were brought into the country illegal deserve to be treated differently. A Republican congressman from South Carolina said children should be viewed "as a special, protected class," and if Democrats held out demanding the inclusion of more undocumented immigrants, it would "only wind up hurting the most vulnerable."

According to reports, a bi-partisan group of members of the House has been working quietly on an immigration reform bill that would provide a path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants while also providing enhanced border security and new visa programs. However, the bill will likely not be revealed until this fall.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "House GOP reconsiders Dream Act idea for young immigrants," Lisa Mascaro, July 23, 2013

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