With the U.S. Senate expected to vote on a pro-immigration measure this week, President Richard Brodhead has expressed his support for the bill.
Brodhead wrote a letter to N.C. Sen. Kay Hagan yesterday to ask that she support the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. If passed, the bill would grant legal residential status to undocumented students who have met certain requirements, such as spending at least five years in the country before the legislation is passed.
In his letter to Hagan, Brodhead noted that the DREAM Act would benefit Duke students who might be unable to find employment because of their documentation status.
“Many were brought to this country as infants and only realized the extent of the limitations on their education and employment opportunities once they arrived at the collegiate level,” the letter reads. “It is good policy, and simply put, it is the right thing to do.”
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate could vote on different versions of the bill today. The prospects of the legislation’s passing are not strong, however. Similar versions of the bill have been blocked by Republican opposition, and many Democrats have yet to take a public stand on the bill, with some opposing the legislation. For the bill to pass in the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader and Nev. Sen. Harry Reid will have to gain moderate Republican support to avoid the possibility of a filibuster.
Hagan, a Democrat, has stated that she supports immigration reform but not the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill—which is how Reid proposed the bill last week.
Brodhead is one of many college representatives to take a stance on the immigration bill. Rutgers University president and the leaders of 11 New Jersey community colleges have recently expressed support for the bill. Among other universities, the chancellor of University of California, Los Angeles also recently supported the act.
U.S. President Barack Obama has also supported the bill, which has seen multiple failures in Congress in the past. Most recently, a September version of the act that was attached to the repeal of the armed forces’ “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy did not pass. Reid has since presented the legislation as a stand-alone bill to take advantage of one of the last Democratically-led sessions of Congress.
In requesting Hagan’s support, Brodhead acknowledged the “complex political situation” surrounding the DREAM Act.
“Like you, I also hope for comprehensive, progressive and thoughtful immigration reform in the near future,” the letter states. “But I do not want the opportunity to pass this important piece of legislation to slip away.”
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