President Barack Obama took advantage of the moment, as he spoke at a White House reception celebrating Cinco de Mayo. He called upon Congress to finally pass the Dream Act. The Dream Act is legislation that helps give students who are undocumented, who were brought to the states illegally as youngsters, a path to obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. if they serve in the U.S. military or attend college. They can also eventually apply to become a citizen if they chose.
Obama called the legislation common sense and blamed the failure of it on the Republicans in Congress. He told listeners he would continue pushing to get the Act passed, along with other fixes to what he referred to as an immigration system in the U.S. that was broken.
The Dream Act version of the Democrats passed the House back in 2010, but was defeated by the Senate 55 to 41. Three Republicans voted for the measure in the Senate, while five Democratic Senators were opposed to it.
Recently there has been talk about an alternative Dream Act that Florida Senator March Rubio is advocating. One big difference in his legislation is that a path would be made towards residency but not towards eventual citizenship. Rubio has not been able to found an echo of yet among the GOP leadership in the House, or with Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee for the party.
One of the co-sponsors’ of the original Dream Act, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said he would be willing to discuss with Rubio his ideas, but sees problems with the legislation that is still evolving.