The House of Representatives voted to pass the DREAM Act yesterday, a bill that would offer legal status to some young illegal immigrants.
The legislation passed narrowly, 216 to 198. The Democratic Party has pushed to pass the legislation before Republicans take over the House in January. All but eight of the representatives that voted in favor of the bill were Democrats, though 38 Democrats voted against the legislation.
The DREAM Act would present the opportunity for obtaining legal residential status to young illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements. In order to be eligible, immigrants must have come to the country before the age of 16, currently be under 30, have lived in the United States for at least five years and enrolled in college or joined the military for two years.
“This vote is not only the right thing to do for a group of talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own by continuing their education or serving in the military, but it is the right thing for the United States of America,” said President Barack Obama in a statement Wednesday. “We are enriched by their talents and the success of their efforts will contribute to our nation’s success and security.”
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the measure today, but the bill is not expected to garner the 60 votes necessary to pass. Democratic Majority Leader and Nev. Sen. Harry Reid has vocally supported the DREAM Act’s passing but has faced significant opposition, especially by Republican senators. Those against the bill have said it will cost taxpayers and potentially encourage more illegal immigrants to enter the U.S.
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