Monday, 15 November 2010

Reid Makes DREAM Act First Priority

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As predicted, the DREAM Act is at the top of the “To-Do” list for the Lame Duck session — a period ranging from November 15 to the swearing in of new congressmen on January 3. Virtually the pet project of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also stated her support for voting on the DREAM Act during the lame-duck session, revealing that the chances of passage in the House of Representatives may be high.

Politico writes, “Pelosi asked Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) to assess the mood of the caucus.”

The DREAM Act would grant legal status to illegal immigrants who enlist in the military or enroll in American schools. The stipulations of the act are that the illegal immigrants must have entered the United States prior to their sixteenth birthday, and must have been residents for five years before enactment of the law.

Congressional Democrats attempted to pass the DREAM Act in September by inserting it into the military defense authorization bill, but the bill was blocked by Republicans who were angered by its insertion as well as that of other controversial measures such as a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” According to Rep. Steve King, a Senate Judiciary Committee member, Reid will continue to face opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats:

I think it’s very unlikely that Reid can pull this off. He lost last September, 54-43 was the vote when he needed it closer, and so I think it’s a little harder for Harry Reid to do that now.

He added,

One thing I think he might do is ask Nancy Pelosi to push this version of amnesty through the House to stack it up and put a little more pressure on the Senate, then look for a way to try to get it passed.

Addressing what he believes to be an audacious example of arrogance, King asserts:

I don’t think Harry Reid nor Nancy Pelosi or even Barack Obama understands that the American people have said "no." They repudiated the 111th Congress; [the Congressional Democrats] are no longer the legitimized representatives of the American people. And large initiatives should not be advanced during lame-duck sessions.

Outlining the Republicans’ anger over the DREAM Act, King contends:

Being the children of illegals doesn’t mean they are not illegal themselves. These children are illegal …We have to draw the line; it’s against the law.

The DREAM Act is a de-facto scholarship for an illegal that if it were to be delivered by the Department of Homeland Security, they would be compelled to deport those illegals they’d be handing this de-facto scholarship to.

Most importantly, King views the act as another example of “affirmative action” and contends it will encourage illegal immigration.

According to The Blaze, the timing of Reid’s plan to push the act through the lame-duck session is ironic in that it comes “just days after a report was released revealing how the U.S. Department of Justice offered millions of taxpayer dollars to ‘compensate more than two dozen states, counties, and cities for their costs of jailing illegal immigrants — even though those communities have adopted policies that obstruct immigration enforcement,’ Fox reports.”

The report, entitled “Subsidizing Sanctuaries: The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program,” indicates, “The Department of Justice annually awards millions of dollars in grants to local governments to compensate for the cost of jailing illegal aliens, even when those governments have policies obstructing immigration law enforcement or encouraging illegal settlement.”

Nevertheless, Congressional Democrats continue to indicate a desire to push “comprehensive immigration reform” — i.e., amnesty. The vote is expected to come as early as this week.

Politico contends that Reid’s call for a vote is likely in response to the support he received from Latinos in the West during the midterm elections that helped him to secure his Senate seat:

The move by Democratic leaders to put immigration back on the legislative calendar will win support from Latinos, whose strong turnout numbers in the West last week were credited with helping the party hold on to control of the Senate. Immigration advocates have pressed Democrats to move on the DREAM Act as a "down payment" on their promise to push for a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the future.

At the same time, Politico notes that an agreeable vote on the DREAM Act may not bode well for the Democrats, as it may cause them to appear “out of sync with voters, who sent a message during the midterm election that they want lawmakers to focus on job creation.”

According to the Washington Independent, the bill will likely fail to gain Republican support:

In 2007, twelve Republicans voted for the DREAM Act’s passage. Only seven are still in the Senate, and they all voted to filibuster the defense authorization bill. While some objected to the bill being inserted into the defense bill, others seem more likely to oppose the DREAM Act in general — meaning passage as a standalone is far from a sure thing.

In addition to the DREAM Act, the lame-duck session is expected to address a variety of other vital, as well as controversial national issues, including the Bush tax cuts, military policy, a nuclear arms agreement, and the federal budget.

Additionally, the lame-duck session will witness the assignment of new roles, such as that of the house speaker and house majority leader and minority leader.

Photo: In this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks in Las Vegas: AP Images

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