Republican congressman decides to hold off on introducing Dream Act

Dec. 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM
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LAS VEGAS, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A Nevada congressman has postponed introduction of a bill providing a path to citizenship through college or the military because of lack of support.

Many advocacy groups say U.S. Rep. Joe Heck's Dream Act is too late, the Las Vegas Sun reported. They say what should be on the table now is comprehensive immigration reform.

Heck, a Republican, has been working on the bill for six months.

"What we have been fighting for, for the last year and really for the last decade, is comprehensive immigration reform, which means a pathway to citizenship for all people," Yvanna Cancela, political director of the Culinary Union, Local 226, told the newspaper. "While Heck's bill is a step in the right direction, it does not meet those goals. It only accomplishes something for a subset of the population."

Heck held a meeting just before Thanksgiving in Nevada with a wide range of groups, including union and employer organizations, colleges and universities and immigration and religious groups. He apparently hoped to get strong backing for the bill, the Sun said.

But many of those at the meeting said they oppose the bill.

In 2010, the national AFL-CIO endorsed a version of the Dream Act that passed the House, then controlled by Democrats, but not the Senate. Danny Thompson of the Nevada AFL-CIO, who was at the November meeting, said the organization now wants comprehensive legislation.

Some states have passed their own versions of the Dream Act, usually allowing illegal immigrants to attend state schools with in-state tuition. The national law would allow young people brought to the United States as children to apply for citizenship after military service or attending college.

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