Immigration Reform 2013 News: Republican House Member Joe Heck Shopping for DREAM Bill
In the wake of an upcoming election, Republican Rep. Joe Heck is shopping for an immigration reform bill that would appeal to the large Asian-American and Hispanic-American populations within his Las Vegas district.
The draft bill would cancel the deportation of young immigrants who were brought to the United States before age 16, granting them conditional resident status and eventually a path to citizenship, reports 89.3 KPCC.
The bill appeals to the "DREAMers," one of the most vocal reform groups. In the bill, individuals who graduated from high school or earned a GED and who are attending college or technical school, have begun an apprenticeship or joined the military and have stayed out of trouble would be able to apply for conditional permanent resident status. Later, they would be eligible for naturalization.
Heck, a two-term Republican lawmaker in Nevada, presented the bill last week to a group of local and national immigration reform groups, labor unions and business and education groups at the Humana Green Valley Guidance Center in Henderson.
Whether or not Heck takes the next step and introduces the reform bill in Congress depends on the buy-in he gets from constituent groups. So far, no other House Republican has moved ahead on a similar DREAM bill.
The DREAM Action Coalition, a national advocacy group, said it had "reservations" about the December 2011 cutoff date in Heck's bill, however, it encouraged him to introduce it in Congress and pressure Republican leaders.
"While the window to address immigration is closing this year, we must not let the opportunity to pass something swiftly escape us yet again," said a statement from Coalition Director Cesar Vargas, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal. "Our undocumented communities need relief as soon as possible, and we cannot afford to fall on the all-or-nothing-game."
The GOP-controlled House is not expected to take up immigration bills during this year's session. However, the issue is expected to take on prominence in next year's elections, particularly in places like Heck's district.