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Is The Dream Act Hanging By A Thread in Congress?

Senate majority leader Harry Reid has vowed to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote during the lame duck session in the Senate. The bill would provide an avenue for legal residence for undocumented immigrants who entered the country before they turned 16.

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act would give resident status to young immigrants on condition that the individual graduates from high school and demonstrates good moral character. To retain resident status the immigration reform bill requires young immigrants brought to the country by their parents to complete at least two years of higher education or complete two years of service in the United States military.

It is not clear, however, whether Reid has the necessary 60 votes in the Senate needed to pass the measure. Two Democratic Senators have indicated they may vote against the Dream Act. Reid would need to have two Republicans to support the bill in the Senate to avoid a filibuster.

Sources inside the Senate have reportedly told CBS News that time is running out and they do not believe there remains enough time to pass the bill in the lame duck session.

Similar issues reportedly loom in the House. Representative Steny Hoyer reportedly said earlier this week that he is not sure the bill will come to the floor. He expects a number of House Democrats to vote against the measure if it does come up for a vote.

Republicans have generally been opposed to the measure, with some exceptions. Opponents of the measure have criticized the bill, saying granting permanent residency under the measure amounts to "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

Source: CBS News, "Is There a Last Gasp for Immigration Reform?," 1 Dec 2010

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