In a Cinco de Mayo reception on April 3, President Obama informed Hispanic voters that he will continue to fight for equality and reform laws regarding undocumented immigrants and their families. According to Fox News, the president urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act, a law that would grant the children of undocumented immigrants U.S. citizenship if they attended college or joined the U.S. military.
Although the DREAM Act passed the House in 2010, it was denied by the Senate with a 55 to 41 vote, but the president said he hopes that can change.
“I’m willing to work with anybody who is serious to get this done and to achieve bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform to solve this challenge once and for all,” President Obama said.
However, despite President Obama’s enthusiasm for immigrant rights at the event, many Latinos are disheartened with the way he has handled immigration reform thus far. One particular argument against the Obama administration is the high number of deportations, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The president’s event was held during a pressing time for Hispanic voters. While the DREAM Act has failed to catch the momentum that many are hoping for, one Republican Senator has come up with an alternative bill that is being reported as a progressive step toward the legislature passing. According to Fox News, Senator Marco Rubio is in the process of drafting a bill similar to the DREAM Act that would make it easier for children of undocumented immigrants to acquire legal status – not U.S. citizenship – as long as they have a clean criminal record by the time they are old enough to choose between college or the military.
While it is not clear if either legislation will pass, the Chicago Tribune reports that President Obama still has a goal of the DREAM Act passing.
“‘No’ is not an option. I want to sign the DREAM Act into law. I’ve got the pens all ready,” he said.