Obama Throws White House Support Behind DREAM Act

obama thinkingToday, President Obama met with Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members, chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to discuss movement of the DREAM Act. In a lead up to the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced plans earlier this week to bring the DREAM Act to a vote, attaching the measure to the Defense Authorization bill to be voted on next week. While GOP opposition to this bipartisan immigration amendment remains high, President Obama pledged his support at an event last night, despite previous concerns that passing the DREAM Act will detract from a larger immigration overhaul.

Participants in today’s White House meeting relayed that the President pledged his full commitment to help move the DREAM Act. According to Politico44:

After meeting with President Obama, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) told reporters that she urged him to work with the Senate to pass the DREAM Act on immigration.

“The president committed to talk to senators,” she said. “We will encourage the community at large to help us, because next week is going to be a crucial week.” Echoing Obama, she called for an “up or down vote.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) added that Obama made it clear that he would “leave no stone unturned.” He said they asked Obama to use the “full weight, the full might of the White House.”

“Let’s have a victory next week,” Gutierrez said.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) advocated for the defense authorization bill, in which the DREAM Act is contained. “I trust that Republicans will join us,” he said, noting that the issue has been bipartisan in the past. “A clean vote without amendments to it.”

At a CHC gala last night, President Obama attempted to quell frustrations over the lack of movement on immigration reform by vowing that he “will not walk away from this fight” and that he remains committed to “getting this done as soon as we can.” Most notably, however, the President lifted up the DREAM Act amendment in his speech—notable, that is, given his previous concerns that passing only part of an immigration reform bill (DREAM) will detract from the momentum of a larger overhaul effort. In his remarks, President Obama said:

Now, the Senate is going to have a chance to do the right thing over the next few weeks when Senator Reid brings the DREAM Act to the floor. Keep in mind, in the past, this was a bill that was supported by a majority of Democrats and Republicans. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t receive that same kind of bipartisan support today. I’ve been a supporter since I was in the Senate, and I will do whatever it takes to support the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ efforts to pass this bill so that I can sign it into law on behalf of students seeking a college education and those who wish to serve in our country’s uniform. It’s the right thing to do. We should get it done.

seth hoy

Although the President has pledged his support for the DREAM Act, mounting GOP opposition will make it increasingly difficult for Sen. Harry Reid to find the 60 votes necessary for cloture on the amendment next week, assuming the Defense Authorization bill makes it through round one, the motion to proceed, next Tuesday.

Seth Hoy

Republished with permission from Immigration Impact.


  1. Mad Jayhawk says

    This is nothing but the Harry Reid Reelection Act. The old man is desperate. He would push a bill honoring members of Hitler’s inner circle if a few of them lived in Nevada. This is politics at its worse. Obama promised a new political atmosphere in Washington and we get this? It is obscene. If it passes and is signed the Democrats can bend over and kiss their rear ends goodbye in 2010 and 2012. There very well could be marches on Washington demanding the repeal of this bill.

    The American People hate amnesty and that is what this is. They already hate the Democrat’s Heathcare Reform bill, a mosque in the Ground Zero area, bailouts, stimulus I, II, & III, take overs of auto companies and banks, giveways to unions, endless earmarks, and their failure in the Gulf to name a few things. Just look at how many Democrats are now running against the President agenda and almost deny that they are Democrats. Harry Reid’s son won’t even identify himself as Harry Reid’s son as he tries to start up another corrupt Democratic family dynasty.

  2. hwood007 says

    I am with Jay on this one. Why now, why not six months ago, why not when you had a win, win position in both houses, and why not as a stand alone bill? Give me three good reasons I can use to support this bill and call my congress persons to support it??? This is only a win win if it cost me no money and it looks like the citizents pay the costs and we pay to send an illegal to college.

    I like the part about serving in the military for one term to get citizenship. Serving also gets them a GI bill. But the rest of the bill sucks as far as I can see. Please tell me why I give free college courses to someone who SHOULD NOT BE HERE? Does that not cost me money? This is lose lose to me as I pay for it. Sorry, bad bill.

  3. Jay Levenberg,Esq. says

    Strange that the Majority Leader decided just 5 weeks before the election to try and tack this important bill onto a Defense Authorization Bill. The Republicans will have a field day claiming its just politics as usual in Washington. This is just the kind of legislation that deserves it’s own hearing and should not be caught up in Senator Reid’s re-election bid.
    The idea that you can push anything you want through by any means is the reason we Democrats are probably going to lose the House of Representatives. It is a short-sighted approach to good effective government and as a result, you will have more people in power that oppose good legislation like this after November. In fact, it might backfire so much that Senator Reid could go down as a result in Nevada.

    • Eric says

      It’s the benefit of frequent elections. Yes, this and other things are being done only because an election. Some bad things get pushed through for that reason but some good things get pushed through for the same reason. It’s been hard to motivate disappointed Democrats this year. The see the agenda endlessly chopped down in a fruitless effort to win over some conservatives. Modern conservatives don’t believe in compromise. I hope this, and the infrastructure proposal, and Elizabeth Warren’s appointment mean the administration and congressional Democrats have figured out they need to show the base what can happen if they’ll get up and keep Democratic majorities. Anyone reading this will probably vote, but get other people to vote too.

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