So Sen. Harry Reid, having won his election thanks to a wave of motivated Latino voters, is now planning to push for a vote on the DREAM Act in the lame-duck session of Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was re-elected last week with strong support from Hispanic voters, will make one last push in the final days of the 111th Congress to pass legislation allowing illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to earn legal status if they attend college or serve in the U.S. military.
Advocates of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act - better known as the DREAM Act - say Reid has a better chance of passing the bill in the "lame duck" session than he would when the new, divided Congress is sworn in this January.
The DREAM Act enjoys strong support across party lines. After hearing a brief description, sixty-six percent of voters support the DREAM Act, including majorities of Democrats (81%), independents (60%), and Republicans (57%).
All of which means, of course, that the American Right will throw a hissy fit and do their damnedest to shout the bill down. Leading the shouting, as always, will be the chief organ in their propaganda Wurlitzer: Fox News.
With Jon Scott doing a "fair and balanced" report yesterday on Happening Now, we got a sample of what we've come to expect from Fox's reportage on the DREAM Act: falsehoods and distortions, particularly from Iowa's favorite nutty nativist, Republican Rep. Steve King, who was permitted to lie blatantly about what the act would do.
Just for the record, the law would not "grant amnesty" or create "preferences" for these students:
In fact, Dream Act would allow eligible immigrants to apply for "conditional permanent resident status." The versions of the Dream Act legislation pending in the House and Senate both state that eligible unauthorized immigrants could have their status adjusted to "conditional permanent resident status" which "shall be valid for a period of 6 years" and subject to termination should the individual cease to be eligible. Conditional permanent resident status is only available under the Dream Act to those who were under 16 years of age when they came to the country, have good moral character, and have earned a high school diploma/GED or been admitted to an institution of higher education.
... Dream Act does not give eligible students a special "preference" over citizens or permanent residents. As the Congressional Research Service explained in a February 3 report, unlike other legal permanent residents, Dream Act students would have restricted access to federal student financial aid. CRS stated of the Senate bill:
S. 729 would place restrictions on the eligibility of aliens who adjust to LPR status under its provisions for federal student financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Under that act, LPRs and certain other eligible noncitizens may receive federal financial aid. Aliens adjusting status under S. 729, however, would be eligible only for student loans, federal work-study programs, and services (such as counseling, tutorial services, and mentoring), subject to the applicable requirements. Unlike other LPRs, they would be ineligible for federal Pell Grants or federal supplemental educational opportunity grants.
Scott performed his "balancing" duties by inviting on Lizette Olmos of the League of United Latin American Citizens to explain the other side -- which she struggled to do, since Scott insisted on asking inane questions about employment in the USA, never giving her an opportunity to refute King's string of falsehoods. But she at least lent the proceedings a voice of sanity.
But Democrats need to be prepared for the onslaught. Fox certainly is.