Democratic Senate Leader Says Will Force Vote on Dream Act

By: JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS & Special Correspondent DAVID ESPO - Associated Press Writers
By: JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS & Special Correspondent DAVID ESPO - Associated Press Writers

The top Senate Democrat says he'll force a test vote this week on a measure to give tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada says he'll move to schedule action on the so-called Dream Act. It would give more than 100,000 young immigrants brought to the United States before the age of 16 a chance to become legal residents if they attend college or join the military.

It's unclear whether Reid could muster the 60 votes necessary to move to an up-or-down vote on the measure. It has some degree of bipartisan support, but is opposed by most Republicans and some Democrats who regard it as little more than an amnesty grant for illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, officials say Senate Republicans intend to block action on virtually all Democratic-backed legislation unrelated to tax cuts and government spending in the current postelection session of Congress.

The officials say GOP leadership has quietly collected signatures on a letter pledging to carry out the strategy.

That could doom Democratic-backed attempts to end the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy for gay servicemen as well as the Dream Act.

A nuclear arms treaty with Russia that President Barack Obama wants ratified wouldn't be affected. Still, its passage isn't assured as Republicans want concessions.

Officials spoke about the Republican letter on condition of anonymity as they were unauthorized to discuss it.

©2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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