History of the DREAM Act in two minutes

The Dream Act has been circulating in Congress for over a decade. It began on April 25, 2001 by Representative Luis Gutiérrez and was called the “Immigrant Children’s Educational Advancement and Dropout Prevention Act of 2001. It was a compromise to all the comprehensive immigration reform bills that failed to get through Congress in the decade and a half since Reagan’s landmark immigration reform bill in 1986. What President Reagan was able to pass through Congress was itself a small part of the comprehensive immigration reforms being batted around Congress during the previous two decades.

We have a long history in ignoring legislation for one of our largest economic engines.

In 2008, after failing several times to get the backing of Congress, Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, announced she would work with the authors of the DREAM Act to add some language that would make it more palatable for Republicans to vote for.

This DREAM Act (v2.0) was then reintroduced to Congress, trimmed again by Republican lawmakers, making it more restrictive for who is eligible and excluding some of the benefits they would receive. The DREAM Act v2.0 still failed to pass a vote in 2009, even with a Republican co-author.

Back to the drawing board it went and Republicans got to water it down some more and make it even more exclusive by adding background checks, biometric data, specifying specific crimes that would make some candidates ineligible, and more. Surely this Dream Act (v3.0) would sail through Congress.

Wrong again. The Republicans, who were in the minority used filibusters twice, to overcome the majority Democratic vote. This means that no matter if the Republicans were the majority or the minority, they could effectively control the Senate.

The backers of the DREAM Act refused to let it die, and as the bill went through its most recent changes in 2011, it had been stripped of many of the benefits that had been designed to encourage the best and brightest of our undocumented citizens to stay and participate in making this country better and safer.

We all know this latest version of the DREAM Act (v 4.0) is still too generous for the Republicans to sign off on. It appears Conservative Republicans are proving to be the greatest obstacle to getting any bill through Congress that will legalize our currently undocumented citizens, and have been for half a century.

It should be noted that in 1798 the Republican party was among the first class of people to be purposely excluded in our first immigration laws. Apparently politics has a very short memory. The Republicans are trying to put the blame on President Obama for not having passed the DREAM Act when the Democrats were in the majority of the Senate. They would like you to forget all about their filibusters. It appears they already have.


  1. Hi, thanks for picking such a hot topic. I have a dream. a country where everyone speaks English. a country not being invaded with people trying to change American culture to fit their 3rd world brains.A country not burdened by welfare to undocumented aliens 40 million from all over the world not just Mexico.  A country that lets me get on a plane without a groin search while our borders are wide open to every Abdul pablo and mic moc ping pong. a country that stops outsourcing jobs & importing job stealers.
    @Zena from http://www.advancedimmigrationlawgroup.net/ 

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