Dear Mr. Bollmann,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009 (S.729), also known as the DREAM Act. I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the chance to respond.
As you may know, the DREAM Act would allow certain immigrant minors to begin a path to citizenship provided that they graduate from college or serve in our military. On October 24, 2007, I voted against a procedural motion that would have allowed the Senate to consider a previous version of the DREAM Act. This motion received 52 votes, 8 short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation.
I voted against the version of the DREAM Act offered in 2007 because I felt its broad criteria would grant too many illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. We are a nation founded by immigrants, but we are also a nation founded upon the rule of law, and it is imperative that we respect both of these traditions. I support legal immigration. I cannot support rewarding illegal immigration, which is why I helped to defeat the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007.
Recently, a narrower version of the DREAM Act was expected to be proposed to be included among amendments that would receive a vote during the Senate’s consideration of the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I supported a procedural motion to begin debate on the NDAA, a critical annual bill that provides for such things as an annual pay raise for our troops, among many other things important to our national defense. However, the motion to proceed to debate on the NDAA was defeated and neither the NDAA nor any amendments to it, including the DREAM Act, were considered by the full Senate.
Since my election to the Senate, I have worked to fix our nation’s broken immigration system and secure our borders. In fact, I recently sponsored legislation, signed into law by President Obama as Public Law 111-230, that provides $600 billion to homeland security and law enforcement agencies to enhance our capability to combat border crime, drug smuggling, and illegal border crossings. I am happy to say that this $600 million in funding is completely paid for and will not add one dollar to our national debt. If you would like to view a more complete summary of this legislation, please visit my website: http://mccaskill.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1079.
Beyond strengthening our border defenses, I believe that we must also focus on cracking down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants must be punished in order to remove the job opportunities that attract so many to cross the border illegally. I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure that happens.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.
United States Senator
P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at www.mccaskill.senate.gov.