Durbin, Lugar Seek Protection of DREAM Act Students


Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano yesterday “asking her to halt deportations of immigrant students who could earn legal status under legislation they have introduced called the DREAM Act (S.729),” according to a press release.

The DREAM Act is a narrowly tailored, bipartisan measure which would permit undocumented students to become permanent legal residents if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years. The DREAM Act would allow a generation of immigrant students with great potential and ambitions to contribute more fully to our society.

The Obama Administration supports the DREAM Act but until the bill passes DREAM Act students are subject to deportation. DHS could temporarily stop deportations of DREAM Act students by granting them “deferred action.” DHS has said that they will focus immigration enforcement on “the worst of the worst,” which clearly does not include DREAM Act students.

Deferred action for DREAM Act students would not apply to a large number of individuals. Over the last several years, only a small number of DREAM Act students have been placed in removal proceedings.

ABC News has a response from Homeland Security:

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler told ABC News the senators’ request illustrates the need for immigration reform and that in the interim the the agency will continue to exercise “discretion” in deportation cases on a “case by case basis, as appropriate,” adding it can “grant a deferral of removal action based on the merits of an individual’s case and a review of specific facts.”

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