Supporters Hope Dream Act Isn't Deferred

Though many feel it should be included in immigration reform package

U.S. Senator Harry Reid is giving it one more shot. Miami's Archbishop Thomas Wenski wonders how anyone could oppose helping children. Miyen Spinelli prays the day never comes that he has a one-way-ticket  back to Argentina. All are banking on the Dream Act getting through the U.S. Senate and into a vote in the U.S. Congress. Prospects are dim.

The Dream Act, if enacted, would allow undocumented children under the age of 16, who have been in country for five years, to be granted permanent status after going to college or serving in the military. 

"The truth is that we are just young people that only wish that we can contribute to the only country we love and we know," says Felipe Matos who came to South Florida from Brazil. He has grown up as an American but has no legal status here. Currently a student at St. Thomas University, Matos, along with three other young students, walked from Miami to Washington, DC to lobby for the Dream Act.

Thousands of undocumented South Florida students have their hopes riding on a passage of the Dream Act. It has faced rough sledding in Congress due to opposition by Republican Senators and Congressmen who feel it should be included in a total immigration reform package.

The clock is ticking because Republicans take charge of the House of Representatives this January in the wake of the recent mid-term elections. What chance the stand-alone measure has rests in the house, and that has to happen during the current Democratically controlled lame duck session.

It is all up to the the ability of Harry Reid to carry the ball for the badly bruised Democrats who support the bill. He has got to get Republican help, which is tough. Even lame duck Republican Florida Senator George LeMieux, with a constituency that has high interest in the Dream Act, is saying no.

"This could happen very fast," says Monsignor Franklyn Casale, the President of St. Thomas University. The University sponsored a rally in support of the Dream Act and the event drew a full  house at the campus convocation hall.

Hopes were high, but reality was detailed in a report from Bloomberg News, which backed up the "now or never" scenario.

"Advocates say they see little chance of getting the legislation through Congress next year, when Republicans will take control of the House and boost their number in the 100-seat Senate to 47."

Contact Us