The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act was introduced in September 2010 by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin. DREAM has also been proposed multiple times in the past. The bill seeks to give undocumented minors the ability to attend higher education institutions that would otherwise be out of their reach. The bill would ensure that undocumented students could pay in-state tuition, which they are normally barred from due to their residence status. The bill was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act which proposed defense spending for the year 2011 and included the proposed repeal of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. The act failed to receive the majority vote in the senate and is subject to intense political debate.
Obama asserted his position on the DREAM act in his September 15th speech at the Congressional Hispanic Institute. The president claimed that he would do “whatever it takes” to get the bill passed through congress. He blamed partisan politics for hindering much needed immigration reform, even though many republicans had once supported the bills they now have forsaken. In the wake of the controversial Arizona immigration law, Obama called for a more practical effort through reform. Misunderstanding of the issues was attributed to causing the intense republican vs. democrat debate. He says that the issue was not an amnesty or widespread immigration crack-down debate, but it was a comprehensive and somewhat united approach that was severely misinterpreted.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid also shared his support for the DREAM act on CSPAN. He expressed the sentiments mentioned by the president, that the ability to produce comprehensive immigration reform has become very difficult. Again, the issue of partisan politics is stated as the obstacle holding back reform.