Dream Act Compromise Could Split Parents from Children

Legislation would grant the children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, but not their parents

In the middle of the anger and frustration about immigration reform are people like Eva Macias, a student at Los Angeles Mission College who could become a U.S. citizen if a deal is reached. But she doesn’t like the idea that her parents might get left out.

'It's unthinkable to be able to have me be legal in this country and have my parents be hidden," Macias said.

Macias and her fellow activists reject a potential Republican compromise to the so-called Dream Act. The legislation would grant the children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, but not their parents. It’s been one of the few signs this week that hard-line Republicans might be willing to bend.

"It's a trick," activist Javier Rodriguez said. "These kids are not going to accept an immigration proposal that's going to leave 9 million people out of the game."

The activists are calling for another May Day-like movement for immigration reform, but standing in the way are Republicans like Congressman Steve King of Iowa. He suggested this week that most young dreamers are drug-runners.

"For every valedictorian, there's another hundred out there... hauling 175 pounds of marijuana across the desert," King said.

"We think that enough is enough," activist Juan Jose Gutierrez said. "I think he's going over a red line and we're calling on the leadership of the Republican Party to reject those clearly racist comments."

Business interests are hoping to push California’s House Republicans toward a compromise that would create a path to citizenship for parents like Macias'. Ira Mehlman of the Federation for Immigration Reform says any version of the Dream Act would amount to amnesty.

"It would still fulfill the parents' dream of bringing the children here illegally," Mehlman said.

The activists say they will meet with California's House Republicans and Republicans in Washington, D.C. They are planning a march for immigration reform on Sept. 22.

Contact Us