By Chris J. Taylor
The Dream Act, a bill that would create a path to citizenship for more than 2 million undocumented residents called dreamers sits in the halls of congress as the GOP and President Obama have failed to come to a workable compromise on the measure. The Act creates a six-year process that includes requirements to attain higher education or serve in the military.
In August, an executive order President Obama called a “stop gap” measure took effect. The order delays deportation to an estimated 1.8 million undocumented residents who entered the country before age 16 for 2 years. The order is certainly far from Obama’s 2008 campaign promises to get the bill passed.
While Dreamers wait on long term relief from the federal government others have come to their aid. A small catholic university outside Chicago paid tuition costs for 17 undocumented residents with private dollars. Dominican University President Donna Carroll calls the move “a commitment to social justice.” Illinois Rep. Randy Ramey called helping the undocumented students; “breaking the law” although he recognized state dollars were not used.
While not all state lawmakers are on board with Dominican University’s move, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Dream Act in May; the first state law of it’s kind. The law is “designed to make scholarships, college savings, and prepaid tuition programs available to undocumented students who graduated from Illinois high schools.
As Dreamers wait on long-term federal plans to address immigration policy many may look to states and private sources for help as President Obama enters his second term.