• August 29, 2015

Obama Calls for Bipartisan Action on Immigration, Including Passage of 'Dream Act'

President Obama strongly urged Congress on Thursday to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including provisions that would expand access to higher education for illegal immigrants.

Although the president did not offer many details or a legislative timeline in a speech at American University, he laid out a broad outline of what he would like to see in immigration legislation. And he specified that he would like it to include the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the Dream Act. That measure would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants attending college who were brought to the United States as children.

"We need to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to stay here, earn an education, and contribute their talents," President Obama said.

Mr. Obama also said immigration reform should include a registration process for illegal immigrants currently in the United States, continuing border enforcement, fairer pathways to legal status, and a legal-worker program to discourage businesses from hiring illegal immigrants.

The president blamed Republicans for partisanship and election-year politics, but said a bipartisan effort was necessary. The Democrats have a strong voting base in the Hispanic community, and many believe that focusing on immigration could benefit them in the elections.

Some staunch advocates of the Dream Act have suggested passing that legislation first, separate from a comprehensive immigration bill, but others have said that approach could diminish the chances that the broader overhaul would get through Congress.

"It's a tricky debate because the broad appeal of the Dream Act makes it more likely to pass, but without that, it becomes harder to pass the rest," said William Leogrande, public-affairs dean at American University.

Opponents of the Dream Act argue that a publicly financed education should not be given to illegal immigrants and that the legislation could end up taking away educational opportunities from legal citizens.

Felipe Matos, a Miami Dade College student who came to the United States from Brazil at the age of 14, has become a national voice for illegal immigrants seeking education. In an interview last week, he described how many children brought here illegally see the United States as their natural home.

"All we're asking for is a chance, an opportunity, to contribute to the only place we know and love," Mr. Matos said. "Instead, we're being put away."


1. swilli01 - July 01, 2010 at 04:07 pm

The Dream Act will pass.. the only question is when. Sooner is obviously better not only for the students who would benefit but also for the country as a whole who will benefit from having these intelligent, bright, and hard-working students obtain gainful employment and contribute to our greater good.

2. nafsamediarelations - July 01, 2010 at 04:18 pm

As the President said today, comprehensive immigration reform cannot move forward without the support of both parties. There is nothing he alone could do to make it happen. But there IS something President Obama can do, right now, so that undocumented students are not, as he put it, "punished for the actions of their parents." He has the authority to instruct the secretary of homeland security to implement what is called “deferred action,” under which immigrant children who would be eligible to legalize their status under the DREAM Act would be allowed to remain in the country pending action on that act.

The president can and should do this today. A lot of innocent lives would be spared unnecessary agony and disruption.

3. wayupnorth - July 01, 2010 at 04:33 pm

Wait a minute. As a citizen I have to pay $50,000 a year to send my kids to college and illegal immigrants get a publicly financed education? That is insanity plain and simple.

4. haohtt - July 01, 2010 at 04:39 pm

And of course, the President will propose nothing to address the flood of illegal immigration now that he is proposing even more enticing benefits. "Border enforcement" will just be a rhetorical tool, with no tanbgible action. My Mexican Father-in-law waited years for his citizenship status to process because he did it the legal way, rather than by sneaking in and then demanding a myriad of free services. I agree that we need to have fairer and quicker paths toward citizenship, but please start with those who have been trying to obey our laws, then work with those who have chosen to ignore our laws.

5. restrada - July 01, 2010 at 05:34 pm

The students who would benefit from the DREAM Act and other reforms are not those who chose "to ignore laws." They were most often brought here, have lived here the majority of their life and would have no idea what it is to live in Mexico or other South American countries. They have lived here like the children of citizens except with fear and anxiety clouding their daily lives. They should be afforded the opportunity to obtain an education and contribute to the communities where they have lived most of their lives.

6. rburns - July 01, 2010 at 05:35 pm

Obama wants yet another dream paid for on the backs of the working public in this country? Enough is enough. We don't do a good enough job of educating our own children and now you want to take on the children of the rest of the world? And among those who will benefit are all those "intelligent, bright, hard-working students." Those would be the illegals and their families? Do you really think that the intelligent, bright and hard-working are the majority of those who sneak into this country, breaking the law every day after they are here? Obama doesn't care if they are educated beyond being able to read his next set of campaign signs. He wants them registered to vote Democrat by 2012.

7. aldamusarts - July 01, 2010 at 05:36 pm

Good going. Go for the Dream Act. Then, later work on faster and fairer ways to make the illegal residents legal. I believe in giving people a chance. Afterall, the Native Americans are not punishing the European Immigrants who came here centuries ago, who were also Illegal immigrants. It does not matter how "pretty" we try to define what the Europeans, then Africnas did long ago...that was still ILLEGAL. And, yes, the illegal European immigrants came here for religious freedon, freedom of thoughts, et al. So, let us give these Mexicans, and others a fair chance too. GO DREAM ACT!!! NOW, PLEASE!!!

8. tlgriffith18 - July 01, 2010 at 06:41 pm

The government is cutting funding for student financial aid programs left and right, so that US students and students who are here legally cannot afford to go to school, but Obama wants to fund this? I don't believe in the whole "sins of the father" thing, but what we're doing is rewarding the parents who are illegal immigrants by paying for their children's education. Nothing like encouraging more to cross the borders so they can get a free college education for their kids. NOT a good thing, even if the government could afford it.

9. your_rights - July 01, 2010 at 06:49 pm

#1)You must work at an Ivy League University because the "intelligent, bright, and hard-working students" are far and few between at my university--legal or illegal. Please provide statistics comparing the SAT scores (or other mesurable criteria) comparing illegal immigrant students with those of legal citizens. You're just blowing smoke.

#3) Hay--you're a legal, hard working American citizen. You don't get didly. It all goes to the free loaders.

article)"Opponents of the Dream Act argue that a publicly financed education should not be given to illegal immigrants and that the legislation could end up taking away educational opportunities from legal citizens." No kidding. Even if #3 can afford to send his kids to school they will be rejected because the seats went to the freeloaders.

10. janetc - July 01, 2010 at 07:13 pm

Please note that such students will NOT be given a free education. They will have access to the same kind of loans and debt that others have (not currently possible). They may have access to in-state tuition rates instead of out-of-state rates, depending on the state. You might consider that a subsidy, but remember that these are by definition kids from families who have resided in the state a long time--paying taxes (yes, illegal workers pay taxes of all sorts)into the state coffers.

They will face the same admissions requirements as all applicants. If they are good students, they are not free-loaders, but hard workers, and they are headed to careers that mean revenue for the state. If they are bad students, they won't be admitted at all and so they won't take the seats of good students.

Native-born students will not lose anything and will not be treated unfairly if this act passes.

11. climatologist - July 01, 2010 at 07:33 pm

Seriously, we should not punish people for commiting crimes! We should reward them instead, just like we reward illegals for commiting crimes of invading our country, killing our people, smuggling drugs and sex slaves!

12. director19 - July 01, 2010 at 09:36 pm

Does anyone understand the word "ILLEGAL?" Why am I payiong for ILLEGALS to attend college. We can't even educate our own citizens.

13. fergbutt - July 01, 2010 at 10:33 pm

So it seems Joe Wilson was right all along: Obama did lie when he said illegal immigrants would not get health care. The President will waive the amnesty wand and undocumented workers will magically get coverage.

14. nacrandell - July 01, 2010 at 10:33 pm

"We need to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to stay here, earn an education, and contribute their talents," President Obama said.

We are not punishing, their parents are putting them at risk! We are just paying the bill.

15. physicsprof - July 01, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Given the unwillingness of the federal government to enforce border control the Dream Act indeed appears to be part of Obama's 2012 reelection campaign.

16. 11122741 - July 01, 2010 at 11:49 pm

First, I start listen to democrats and Obama when they promise no naturalized illegal or her or his children or relatives have a vote for two generations ....then I will know that the people who are making these proposal are serious and that my vote is not being dulutes by all of this jerrymandering and shennanigans ....so stand up PREZ and democrats and let's see how real and serious you are.

next no illegal or naturalized illegal gets any form of public asssitance until they have the right to vote under the two generation rule. It's called paying your bills and serving your time for your crime which still ignores that we did not chose to be here (which is a huge problem no whatever how talented and good you are) and you screwed and are screwing someone where you came from in terms of their chance and wack at getting to come here and be a citizen ....this fundamental harm and immorality is simply ignored and sluffed off by the amnesty crowd.

Let all of the supporters of amnesty pony up the educational and assitance costs out of their own pockets and get their hands out of mine and my kinds and relatives ...let's see some real conviction and putting your money where your mouth is.

Both of these "ammendments" would help to stem the flood of more illegals if anything ressembling the PREZ's proposal passes.

Otherwise its going to be the summer of 68 and its not going to be the illegals or their supporters who are rioting or who are the new Weathermen and the left will get a real good taste of their own medicine.

The PREZ is handling this one about as good as he handled and is handling the oil spill and economic recovery.

Yeah, I and many others are just going to sheepishly sit here and let academics and the PREZ steal my and my kids and grand kids inheritence and all my parents and grandparents worked for hard for; yep: you guys will get it when the bell tolls. Unbelievable really.

Uh-huh: and how is that war in Afganistan going for ya huh and why are all you lefties out in the streets like in 68: hmmmm ....but don't tell me, I was there and remember how out of touch democrats were then too.

What a disaster really.

17. honore - July 02, 2010 at 08:30 am

More political face-licking by our "education" president whose own kids are already guaranteed admission to the Ivy of their dreams. What a hypocrite and how "patrician" of this idiot (who i voted for).

Meanwhile, the "legal" American plebians working 2 jobs to MAYBE get their kids TO, IF NOT "through" college will be getting a THIRD job for their "dream" to be realized and will still be coming up short.

A society in decline? Ethically? Morally?

What a sorry mess when the president of our country doesn't see the difference between who came to the US legally (and often waited YEARS to do so) and those whose first civic act is to wipe their asses with our constitution and THEN demand equal rights and protection under it.

Let's all be thankful that land-bridges don't emerge from the ocean bottoms to connect us to Africa, Asia, Europe and the No. & So. Poles to REALLY put his "dream" policies to a REAL test.

Just more pathetic political pandering to the "latino" (let's be honest here) masses of the future. The only "minor" fact that our president is ignoring is that this mythical "latino" population exists only in the confused and compromised rhetoric of the political whore/hack. IN FACT, this mythological voting "block" is more like a very cracked and leaking CROCK.

They are in fact divided along RACIAL, CULTURAL, ETHNIC, ECONOMIC and yes, POLITICAL lines. But our president and his tail-chasing "advisors" continue courting this fallacious "vote" with stupid "dream" acts with no thought to the NIGHTMARE they are bringing to the America of the future.

Funny, you don't see Mexico, China or India "dreaming" these stupidities. Could it be they see their OWN citizens as priorities BEFORE the citizens of every other corner of the planet?

So sad and so discouraging...mas estupideces de un payaso vendido sin principio.

18. droslovinia - July 02, 2010 at 08:46 am

Y'know, some of you could just save us all some trouble if you stopped sending in these stupid comments and just submitted an RSS feed from your favorite political pundit. These insipid 1-line "zingers" using pundit-driven terms like "freeloaders" and whining about having to "pay for illegals" surely cannot be the produce of rational thought because it doesn't take any rational thought to parrot someone else. We get it: you're selfish and/or afraid. There are a lot of you who are selfish and/or afraid, proving that the pundits are doing their jobs and Dick Armey's money has been well-spent. Now can you actually attempt to start talking with some sense, instead of telling us what your favorite "handler" thinks? We'll all be the better for it.

19. tptrekker - July 02, 2010 at 10:41 am

Where is that alleged liberality in U.S. higher education? Certainly not in most of the emails contributed to this thread. Know Nothings, well-entrenched in the Academy. Seeing as Sunday is Independence Day, my weekend plans include re-reading the inscription on that lady in NY Harbor.

20. physicsprof - July 02, 2010 at 10:51 am

#20, even if the alleged liberality seems missing from the present discussion, but thanks to you it certainly is not lacking in academic grandstanding and moralizing now.

21. ahmet0011 - July 02, 2010 at 04:56 pm

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22. ahmet0011 - July 02, 2010 at 04:57 pm

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23. grace72 - July 05, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I hope to see the DREAM Act pass now!

It is very important that we as citizens understand that the DREAM Act will not only benefit many ambitious young people, but the society as a whole. They will not be getting a free education as many assume. They would only acquire the same opportunities as other citizens. If they have good GPA's and are hard workers and it is shown in their academics, they will get scholarships. But if there are other US citizens that are better qualified than them they are the ones who will get the help. It seems extremely reasonable to me. If I was going to give a scholarship, I will rather give it to someone who will take advantage of it and not take it for granted. After these young adults graduate they will be paying way more taxes that they are right now, because they will have at least a bachelor's degree. I think that passing the DREAM Act will help to form better members of society that want to contribute to our communities. That's what our beautiful country needs. Dedicated, responsible and intelligent people who are willing to fight for the economy and principles of this NATION! We need to stay in competition. We cannot afford to keep loosing talented and highly educated people when we have China graduating more students than us.

Want to help the US?


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