Immigrant advocates are making one last push for the Dream Act before Republicans take control of Congress next year. The bill would put immigrant students on track for citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military.
House and Senate Democratic leaders say they will use next week’s lame-duck session of congress to put the bill up for a vote.
Maria Marroquin is an undocumented immigrant who came here from Peru when she was 13 years old. She recently earned her associates degree from Montgomery County Community College, and wants the Dream Act to become law.
“That’s the only way I can continue my education to transfer to a four year school. My dream is to be a lawyer, but i can’t do that until the Dream Act passes,” said Marroquin.
Pamela Salazar is a Temple University student who came to the United States with her parents when she was eight months old. Salazar says the Dream Act would help students like her stay in the United States legally.
“It’s not at all an amnesty, that’s a misconception. It’s a very long procedure where you’re given 6 years of temporary residency and in those 6 years you have to fill in all the requirements,” said Salazar.
Salazar does get some financial aid, but also works to pay $3,000 a semester in tuition.
The Dream Act is popular among Latino voters, who are credited with helping the Democrats maintain control of the Senate. Both Senator Arlen Specter and Bob Casey support the Dream Act. Senator-elect Pat Toomey says he doesn’t know enough about the bill to have an opinion.