POLITICS

The DREAM Act: Amnesty or Opportunity?

A new bill could make dreams come true for young illegal immigrants. The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, dubbed the DREAM Act, provides a path to citizenship through college attendance or military service.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, tells Fox News, "these are people who grew up in America and are here illegally through no fault of their own and many want to join the military."

During a Sunday interview on Fox News, Sharry discussed the military's need for volunteers.

"If you look at the strategic plan that Department of Defense has through 2010," said Sharry, "it calls for a DREAM Act."

Sharry isn't the only one pushing the military benefits of the act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intention to bring the measure up for a vote next week, attaching it to the defense authorization bill.

Last Wednesday, President Obama expressed support for the DREAM Act at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 33rd Annual Awards Gala.

After pledging to do "whatever it takes" to support efforts to pass the bill, the president added, "it's the right thing to do. We should get it done."

That same day, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., blasted the measure on the Senate Floor.

"At a time when many American families can't afford to send their own children to college," said Vitter, "this bill is an insult to legal tax-paying American citizens whose hard-earned money will be used to finance the education of illegal aliens."

Vitter, who is Chairman of the Senate Border Security Caucus, added that the DREAM Act would "exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration."

Sharry says he isn't surprised by Vitter's comments, but "the rest should know better."

Sharry is referring to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Senators Orrin Hatch, Lindsey Graham and John McCain.

McCain says he has an issue with the process, not the substance of the DREAM Act. Specifically, McCain opposes Reid's intention to attach the measure to the defense authorization bill.

Reid released a written statement, saying, "Senator McCain and anyone else who thinks the DREAM Act is not directly related to our national security should talk to the brave young men and women who want to defend our country but are turned away."

Sharry agrees, saying, "The idea that an amendment that would allow more talented young people to serve in our nation's armed forces is somehow 'extraneous' to the Department of Defense Authorization bill is ludicrous."

During an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, McCain said the DREAM Act "may have merits or demerits depending on how you look at it," but added that Reid's efforts to attach the measure to the defense bill are a ploy to gain votes in November.

"And he's doing that at the expense of this legislation, which is about the men and women who are serving in the military," said McCain. "It's really remarkable."

Sharry admits Reid has political motives, but says Republicans should take note.

"The reason Harry Reid is bringing it up is not just for his re-election, it's to put the Republicans in the crosshairs, says Sharry. "If the Republican Party stands together and says no, I don't think that's a good political move."