Your NPR news source

DREAM Act backers at odds over how to pass it

SHARE DREAM Act backers at odds over how to pass it
DREAM Act backers at odds over how to pass it

Undocumented youths protest outside a Republican campaign office in Chicago this October.

Chip Mitchell/WBEZ

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., wants the DREAM Act signed into law by year’s end. But supporters disagree on how to advance the measure.

The bill, passed by the U.S. House last week, would lay a path to citizenship for some undocumented youths who grew up in this country and attend college or join the military.

Getting it through the Senate would depend on Republicans so the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is urging calls and letters to the state’s Republican senator, Mark Kirk.

But some DREAM Act supporters call that effort a waste of time. “Kirk is not going to do anything independently of the Republican Party,” said immigrant-rights activist Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist, a church in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

“This is something that has to be worked out by leadership,” Coleman said. “Our pressure needs to go on Obama and it needs to go on the Democratic leadership, who’ve been playing us for two years, to finally come through and meet their promises.”

Coleman said that would mean making the DREAM Act part of any deal with Republicans about taxes.

The Latest
It’s election day, and hundreds of teens are serving as election judges. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a case that could impact more than one million student people in Illinois with college debt. Local groups are stepping up to provide shelter for asylum seekers arriving in Chicago.