The DREAM Act—a bill to grant legal status to undocumented immigrants brought here as children who complete some college or military service—narrowly went down in defeat in 2010. It passed the House of Representatives but failed by a few votes in the Senate. While federal solutions have been unobtainable so far, many states have pursued their own initiatives on behalf of undocumented students.
State-level DREAM Acts, which grant in-state tuition to undocumented residents, have succeeded in 13 states over the past 10 years. In our column, "Keeping the DREAM Alive," we review what these states have accomplished as the Senate holds the first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act today led by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) with testimony by leading administration officials including Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford L. Stanley.
States are working to make the American Dream possible for undocumented students but they can only do so much. It is time for the federal government to do its part and pass the DREAM Act to provide these students with a legal path to citizenship.
For more on this topic, please see:
- Keeping the DREAM Alive by Philip E. Wolgin and Maya Edelstein