Obama, Hispanic caucus push for DREAM Act passage before year's end

President Obama and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) are pushing Congress to pass the DREAM Act before adjourning.

Obama met Tuesday afternoon with CHS leaders Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis Guiterrez (D-Ill.) in the Oval Office where they "discussed the options on immigration reform immediately facing the Congress," the White House said.

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The White House readout of the meeting said Obama wants to see passage of the DREAM Act during the lame-duck session.

"This legislation has traditionally enjoyed support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and would give young people who were brought as minors to the United States by their parents the opportunity to earn their citizenship by pursuing a college degree or through military service," the White House said.

On comprehensive immigration reform, the president pushed CHC members to "work to restore the bipartisan coalition backing comprehensive immigration reform."

The readout said Obama is hoping that with the midterm elections settled, Republicans will join him and Democrats in pursuing comprehensive legislation.

"The president repeated his hope that, with the election season’s pressures past, Congressional Republicans would work with their Democratic colleagues not only to strengthen security at the nation’s borders, but also to restore responsibility and accountability to what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system," the White House said.

In a statement, Gutierrez said passing the DREAM Act would “make a down payment” on immigration reform. 

“Democrats and those Republicans willing to join us to address an important area of our dysfunctional immigration system can set the tone for the next Congress and the next two years,” he said.

The DREAM Act, Gutierrez added, is “the only piece of immigration reform legislation that can get broad support from Democrats and has attracted significant Republican support in the recent past.  The policy of mass deportation is not working and is ripping apart communities and may only get worse under a Republican controlled House.”

"Speaker Pelosi has indicated to me personally that she wants the House to move on the DREAM Act," he said.  "Majority Leader Harry Reid has consistently supported a DREAM Act vote during lame-duck, and now the president and I have had an opportunity to discuss the lame-duck strategy."