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TribBlog: Dream Rally

A group of people who typically prefer to stay out of the limelight gathered this morning to urge lawmakers to support the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.

Veronica Cervantes, an Austin Community College student, participates in a rally on the University of Texas at Austin campus to support the Dream Act.

Julieta Garibay has a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and she’s a licensed nurse. She has been for 11 years, and for all those years, she has been waiting for the opportunity to help patients. “It is unacceptable to deny the dreams of our students who came here with no choice of their own but have made it the best they can,” Garibay said with tearful eyes as she called on dozens of demonstrators to march through downtown Austin today and show their support for the DREAM Act.

A group of people who typically prefer to stay out of the limelight, undocumented students, gathered on the University of Texas campus this morning to urge lawmakers to support the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The measure would give undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children temporary resident status on the condition that they graduate from a two-year college, complete at least two years toward a four-year degree, or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, plans to add the legislation as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill this afternoon.

After an opening prayer and strong words of support from a series of speakers, rally participants took out their phones and called the office of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, to have their support recorded before the vote today. Over the past two years, the University of Texas student government has passed resolutions supporting the DREAM Act. Scott Parks, the UT student government president, said he hopes that dream finally becomes reality. “In my mind, it's right, and I hope that Congress does all that it can do today,” he said.

Opponents of the DREAM Act say that a more comprehensive immigration reform package is needed. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, released a statement this morning outlining the reasons he plans to vote against proceeding with the Defense Authorization Bill today. He cites the DREAM Act amendment, among other reasons, including language that requires military hospitals to provide abortions on demand and the repeal of the current "don't ask, don't tell" military policy. 

“Clearly, Senate Democrats believe this last-minute scramble will overshadow their failed economic strategy, two years of broken promises on immigration reform, and their reckless management of our nation’s finances. These tactics are an insult to millions of Americans, especially those that respect the sanctity of life, the troops that sacrifice so much to protect our freedom, and those of us committed to addressing our broken immigration system with credible reform,” he said in the statement.

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