Democrats push for inclusion of DREAM Act in party platform
August 9th, 2012
03:50 PM ET
2 years ago

Democrats push for inclusion of DREAM Act in party platform

(CNN) - Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is battling for a U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico, joined other Senate candidates Thursday urging the Democratic Party to include the DREAM Act in its convention platform.

"This is the right time for this opportunity, because the convention only comes along every four years," Heinrich said on a conference call with reporters. "This is the right time, given the leadership the president has shown in recent months on the issue."

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While Democratic lawmakers have long pushed for the DREAM Act to become law, the measure has failed to pass through Congress, despite many attempts. The proposal calls for permanent residency status for some young adults who were brought to the country illegally, as long they meet certain requirements that among others include working towards a post-secondary degree or serving in the military.

President Barack Obama in June announced the administration would stop deporting some young illegal immigrants, specifically those who meet similar criteria found in the DREAM Act. Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation.

The policy was met with much opposition from the Republican Party, with many of its members saying the ruling offered only a short-term solution and that they prefer to see major immigration policy changes happen through legislation, rather than directives issued by the executive branch.

At the time, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was in the process of drafting what many called the GOP version of the DREAM Act, which modeled similar provisions from the Democratic-backed legislation but would not include a path to citizenship.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he would veto the DREAM Act as president, but has expressed support for legal status for those who serve in the military, only. But he has also not said whether or not he would repeal the recent Obama administration directive.

While the DREAM Act is currently not an official plank in the Democratic Party platform, the party has long been vocal about its support for more progressive immigration reform.

"We support a system that requires undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, pay taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens," the platform currently states. "They are our neighbors, and we can help them become full tax-paying, law-abiding, productive members of society."

The platform committee will hold a public meeting Saturday in Detroit. At the hearing, chaired by Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, the 120 committee members will submit amendments to be discussed before being put forth for a vote.

The final document will be presented to delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this September. Those present will then vote to accept it as the official party platform.

Other Senate candidates pushing for the party to adopt the legislation include Shelley Berkley in Nevada and Richard Carmona in Arizona. While Heinrich said Thursday he's been greeted with strong support for including the proposal, the Democratic National Committee would not say whether or not the measure would likely make it into the platform.

"The platform process is ongoing but the President and Democrats support the DREAM Act and are committed to taking steps toward passing it," DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said in a statement.

While immigration reform can be a fiery election-year topic, polls consistently show that immigration issues rank low on Hispanic voters' minds. According to a Gallup survey released late June, 12% of Hispanic voters rated it as the top priority, while health care trended as the top issue, followed by unemployment and economic growth.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "OR.., CNN's has moderated republican comments while progressive liberals like Sniffit and you are not.'

    Oh please. If you only knew how many commenst or even bad jokes that I type that never make it past the moderators. Stop crying and keep trying.

    August 9, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Go for it Democrats!! Get it ALL in there!! Gay marriage and amnesty for all illegals. Let the American people know what you are truly all about. Don't foget to include universal government run healthcare and banning guns. Let the American people know what your end game is. None of this pievemeal stuff.

    August 9, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. mcskadittle

    I think if they are willing to give their life for our country then the dream act makes a lot of sense

    August 9, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. mcskadittle

    If we all had to pay for the sins of our fathers them mitts day would have been in real trouble

    August 9, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. dbacts

    The Democrats have the right idea. White and black Americans don't want to work; Immigrants do want to work. Let's grant a general amnesty like President Reagan granted.

    August 9, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. dbacts

    Go Democrats!!! America need people who are willing to work. Obama 2012!!!

    August 9, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. FUBAR

    Go ahead, that will be the final nail in Obama's political coffin.

    August 9, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. DAVID

    GEE ! A REAL SOLUTION AGAIN! beats the heck out of self deportation! maybe it does have lots of flaws but its cheaper than the billions we would spend trying to find 10 million plus people. if it was not for the repubs and the businesses that hire these people they would not come here! DAAAAAAAA!

    August 9, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. BinaryTooth

    Please do not focus on the economy!!! That would only hurt Obama's reelection efforts.

    Obama 2012

    August 9, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Michael

    Dancing for a different tune. Citizens are starving. Debt is piling up. Democrats are not worried about the country but power.

    August 9, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Maybe we can just get rid of the border between the USA and Mexico and bring ALL of them up here? With the drug wars going down there, aided by all the weapons Obama and Holder sent them, most of them will be heading this way anyways.

    Let's roll out the free citizenship, free healthcare, free welfare, free foodstamps red carpet.

    Democrat Party – Let the whole world takeover the USA, otherwise you're a racist.

    Great platform!!

    August 9, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Pete

    If immigrents serve in the military,which many have,ask Romneys sons who are natural born if they'll serve,hell no...Then give them a chance at the American dream they've earned it,many are dead or disabled serving overseas for their adopted country.Many a natural born citizen refused to serve but are fighting this bill,ask Boehner,McConnell or those like Gingrich who took deferrments so not to go fight but now are chicken hawks constantly advocating war ,now wanting military intervention in Syria and Iran.Ask to send relatives or shut up ,Micheal Moore stood on the Capital steps asking in one movie if anyone in the Senate or Congress have anyone overseas,no one responded.So to all those who advocate war ,especially the republicans who only number 30% that actually served overseas compared to the Democrates 70 % ,put up or again shut up in being hawkish ,go to a military funeral sometime hypocrites you'll never forget,I have,one of my best friends a war time casualty,I'll never forget!!!

    August 9, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    While immigration reform can be a fiery election-year topic, polls consistently show that immigration issues rank low on Hispanic voters' minds.
    -------------------------------------------------
    You don't say?
    To hear the "foxed" (as in drunk) Republicans tell it you'd think that is ALL we think about.
    At least that's what they want what's left of their unibrow, share-a-tooth, bottom feeders base to thnk in order to keep the flames a'glowing.

    August 9, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    Native Americans are the only true Americans, and look at what people have done to them in the name of power (for the wealthy).

    August 9, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. TAK

    Bad move.

    August 9, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. Jon

    Pete, I am ashamed for you ...WHy on the earth would you make statements that you hope are facts, The military vote overwhelingly Republican, that is why Obama and team is trynig to prevent them from voting when they are deployed internationally – refering to Ohio, where Obama is trying to prevent the Military from haing 2 extra days to vote when they are out of the country.

    When a military unit is deployed, they sometimes are called out with a moments notice, and no idea when they will be back ... plus, sometimes when they do get back they need to be debriefed. Obama, let our children that serve overseas vote.

    August 9, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. george of the jungle

    Good job democrats go for it. Tired of these right wing money grubbing repos trying to run this country down the tubes. Lets in clude all people and work to make this country the best in the world. Not just for the rich . Tired of the lies that immargents are taking jobs away from Americans it aint true. . We want gay rights womens rights. No more supression by the repo do nothing congress. Vote all repos out. Forward. We are ahead in the polls lets keep it that way. Wheres you tax returns Mittens???? In the caymens with your money? How much to ship your horse around . I bet you know that you just don't know what % you paid in taxes . Yeah right.some businessman you are.

    August 9, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Dominicant lard 4 nobama

    First words out of a criminal's mouth these days when confronted by police is "i'm an illegal" and they get released
    -------------------------------------------------
    How is it that you're still here then?!

    August 9, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Dominicant lard 4 nobama

    First words out of a criminal's mouth these days when confronted by police is "i'm an illegal" and they get released
    -------------------------------------------------
    Sorry. I meant to say that explains why you're still here.

    August 9, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. BeverlyNC

    We are ALL immigrants and those born here or brought here as infants and have grown up American or have fought for our nation in the military deserve the right to officially become American. We need more GOOD citizens and less haters, birthers, extremist Republicans, and obstructionist Republican members of Congress. The DREAM Act is fair, there for people who have earned it, and should be passed without such xenophobic Republican hate. All our of families were immigrants at one point. What ever happened to "bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses longing to be free"?

    August 9, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |