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Fate of DREAM Act hangs in the balance

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano at a news conference to discuss the DREAM Act on Capitol Hill in December 2010.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano at a news conference to discuss the DREAM Act on Capitol Hill in December 2010.
Getty Images/Alex Wong

As we close 2010 the fate of the DREAM Act hangs in the balance.

Despite major achievements of the lame duck Congress, the DREAM Act to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented members of the military and students died on the Senate floor before the 111th Congress adjourned for 2010. The DREAM Act passed in the House in December 2010.

The DREAM Act was largely supported by Congressional Democrats with only a few Republicans voting to pass the bill. In the 111th Congress, Democrats had a majority in both the House and the Senate. However, in the 112th Congress, Republicans will have a majority in the House and a gain in Senate seats. This means that it will be even harder to pass the DREAM Act in the 112th Congress.

Following the Senate's failure to pass the DREAM Act on December 18, President Obama released a statement about what he called "an incredibly disappointing vote" and pledged to continue to work toward the passage of the DREAM Act.

President Obama stated that the DREAM Act is important for the economy, military readiness, and law enforcement.

It is interesting to note that Republicans, who claim to be fiscal conservatives, blocked the DREAM Act, which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years.

As we celebrate the new year, it is hard to ignore hard-working students and brave members of the military who fear their deportation.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on one such student, Los Angeles area resident Mark Farrales. Mark Farrales is a Harvard graduate and doctoral candidate at UC San Diego who was recently released from a detention facility because he is in the U.S. illegally. Initially, Mark Farrales was brought to the U.S. by his father, an attorney from the Philippines who was seeking political asylum.

Los Angeles area Congressman Brad Sherman has asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and the Board of Immigration to review Mark Farrales' case. Currently, Mark Farrales has a one-year reprieve from deportation.

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