Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and others in introducing the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2011, a narrowly tailored bill that would provide immigration relief to undocumented students brought to the country as youth, who must meet certain criteria.
"The DREAM Act is a sound starting place toward comprehensive immigration reform that works to strengthen America's economy, knowledge base, and our armed forces," Cantwell said. "DREAM offers individuals who were brought to this country as children a chance to earn legal status and give back to the American communities in which they were raised. These individuals will make our country more competitive economically by enriching our workforce, contributing to our tax base and spurring job creation."
The DREAM Act would provide undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children with a pathway to legal residency, provided they are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or have enlisted in the military. Cantwell is an original cosponsor of the legislation, originally introduced with strong bipartisan support by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in 2001.
Cantwell was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act during the 111th Congress. The legislation passed the House on December 8, 2010, in a bipartisan 216 to 198 vote, but it failed by a 55-41 vote to pass the Senate on December 18, 2010.