Photo: Arne Duncan
On Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that despite allies’ pessimism towards getting it done in the lame-duck session, Congress cannot afford to wait on the passing of the DREAM Act.
Duncan pointed out that the DREAM Act is about fairness and economic necessity and not about politics (despite many using its controversy for political gain).
“For young people, for our country, for out country’s economy, we desperately need to pass the DREAM Act. We have a chance to do it now in the lame-duck session. And I simply don’t think we can afford to wait,” said Duncan.
While Republican critics of the legislation continuously claim the bill is only being pushed by Democrats in order to pander to Hispanic voters, former Commerce Secretary (and Republican) Carlos Gutierrez says it would be a “shame” to not have the DREAM Act passed before January, but added that DREAM Act backers need to keep in mind that the “big picture” is comprehensive immigration reform, and it is necessary that they explain how the DREAM Act fits into that “big picture” rather than focus solely on the bill.
“We’re very clear this is not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, and we should not allow it to become a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Gutierrez during a conversation of which Duncan was a part. “This needs to be positioned as a first step in a comprehensive solution and not a substitute for a comprehensive solution.”