The only potential immigration bill that will come out of the American Congress this Lame Duck Session is the Dream Act. The Dream Act proposes to provide a "path" to legalization for illegal/undocumented immigrants who: (1) entered the US as minors (under 16), (2) have completed high school and either served in the US military for two years or completed at least two years of college, and (3) are of good moral character (e.g. no criminal convictions). The bill will only apply to those that have been in the US for five years or more on the day of enactment, so there is no risk of encouraging future illegal entrants. The bill has gone through a few different iterations, but these are the basic concepts.

The "path" is not an easy one. The House's version of the Dream Act, which was passed earlier this month, says that applicants must spend a minimum of 11 years after becoming legalized, before they would eligible to even apply for US citizenship. In other words, if the Dream Act was passed tomorrow, the first applicants would not become US citizens until 2021. During that time period, applicants would have another batch of requirements, notably a continued "good moral character" requirement.

The Senate bill is shortly supposed to come up for vote. The Senate vote will be a close one. Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is said to be spending loads of time working his colleagues for votes.

While the bill doesn't contain any provisions for healthcare workers, MU supports the bill and thinks you should too. For one, the bill appears to strike a proper balance the real-world concern of rewarding illegal entrants with the moral issues of penalizing children who have spent most of their lives in the US.

For two, it has been ages since Congress has passed a sensible immigration bill. By passing a moderate and moral bill, the US public may again see immigrants as people like them who help build a wonderful and enriched society. In turn, the healthcare community may get the immigration legislation it needs.


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