Top U.S. officials make final push for DREAM Act

10:10, December 18, 2010      

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With few days left for the lame- duck session, top U.S. administration officials were making last- ditch effort to pass a bill to help immigrant youngsters who are illegal in the country for no fault of their own.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), surrounded by House Members, ties the box containing the "Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010" legislation after a signing ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 17, 2010. The bill, sponsored by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) will improve educational assistance for those who served in the military after September 11, 2001. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

In an article published Friday on the website of the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder made the case from his own experience for the DREAM Act, a measure to give tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status.

"This critical legislation would provide new pathways for service and learning. And it would bring extraordinary individuals out of the shadows, where -- despite their efforts to contribute and their determination to succeed -- they have been relegated for far too long," said Holder, whose father and mother's parents arrived in the United States from Barbados.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) shares a conversation with Representative Joe Crowley (D-NY) after the passage of the "Dream Act" in the House of Representatives in Washington, December 17, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The DREAM Act aims to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant children who were brought to the United States before turning 16 years old, have lived continuously in the country for at least five years and graduated from high school or gained an equivalency degree if they joined the military or attended college for two years.

By a tally of 216 to 198, the House of Representatives voted last week to pass the bill, while the Senate decided to table the consideration of its own version and take up the House-passed version sometime later to save the lower chamber from re-voting on the matter.
"The DREAM Act would do more than expand opportunities for learning and public service for young people across the country," said Holder. "It would also benefit every American by helping establish a new generation of young people grounded in our nation' s finest traditions and its founding principles."

"I urge our elected representatives to act. I urge them to do the right thing," he said.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks about the passage of the "Dream Act" in the House of Representatives in Washington, December 17, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Holder in trying to persuade lawmakers to vote for the bill.

"I've made a number of calls to Republicans and Democrats already," Duncan told reporters on a last-minute conference call Friday morning. "I will continue to make those calls."

Source: Xinhua
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