The DREAM Act has long been proposed by the Obama administration as a possible solution to the issue of undocumented immigration. If that proposed legislation were to pass into law, the children of undocumented immigrants would have a path to citizenship. However, although the president has supported the measure it has not been able to pass Congress and has not been made into law.
Still, many continue to support the legislation and other immigration bills like it. Collectively, these supporters are known as DREAMers and they have rallied and lobbied for immigration reform which would grant status to those who have lived in the US but who were brought into the country by undocumented immigrants.
In June 2012, President Obama signed an executive order which allows young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as young children to have legal status in the US for at least two years. President Obama has called these qualified undocumented immigrants “as much Americans” as anyone else.
The executive order has created some backlash, notably from Republicans. Many Republican lawmakers, including Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, have stated that they would propose bills in congress to make permanent immigration laws. Even those who support the order acknowledge that it is a temporary fix and those who oppose it say that it is a political move and oversteps presidential boundaries.
Even some in the Hispanic community are unhappy with the executive order. They point out that President Obama had made promises for immigration reform while the current executive order is only a temporary measure at best. Some individuals are upset that the executive order will only help a limited number of qualified undocumented immigrants. Those who are over the age of 30, for example, will not qualify for work permits or legal status under the new policy. Under the Obama administration, there have also been a historic number of deportation, which has also raised some questions.
Those who support the measure say that the president has made several attempts to pass immigration reform but has been blocked at every turn, and the executive order is a bold step that will still help thousands of people. Supporters also note that the president has spoken out against Arizona’s SB 1070 and other laws which aim to crack down on undocumented immigration.
Since this is an election year, it is not surprising that the issue of immigration has become heated, with both sides of the debate arguing that they will make important immigration reforms to help many people currently in the US.