By SCOTT WONG | 5/10/11 7:26 PM EDT
Senate Democrats will re-introduce the long-stalled DREAM Act, hoping to tap into momentum from President Barack Obama’s speech along the border Tuesday about America’s need to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and other Democrats will urge passage of the DREAM Act at a news conference Wednesday morning at the Capitol.
Foundering in Congress for a decade, the legislation was passed in the House but came up five votes short of overcoming a Republican filibuster in the Senate during last December’s lame-duck session. The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants brought to the country as children if they attend college or join the military for two years.
At a speech in El Paso, Texas, Obama called on Congress to pass the bill and “stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents.”
“It was a tremendous disappointment to get so close and then see politics get in the way,” Obama said. “These are kids who grew up in this country, love this country, and know no other place as home. The idea that we would punish them is cruel and it makes no sense. We are a better nation than that.
“So we’re going to keep up the fight for the Dream Act. We’re going to keep up the fight for reform.”