The Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act Tuesday morning, nearly 10 years after the proposal -- which would give undocumented immigrants a path to legal status by pursuing a college degree or joining the military -- was first introduced. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Department of Defense Under Secretary Clifford Stanley in endorsing the act before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Stanley will be talking about the military benefits of passing the act.
In a telephone news conference with reporters on Monday, Duncan acknowledged that the main purpose of the hearing -- which has failed numerous times and is widely seen as unlikely to pass until Congress takes up broader immigration legislation -- is to raise awareness. He emphasized the need to “educate Americans” on the benefits of bringing some undocumented immigrants into the work force. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced in every Congressional session since its first introduction in 2001 -- sometimes as a standalone bill, and sometimes as a part of other legislation -- and failed each time. It was re-introduced by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in May.