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Legislative Update for April 23, 2009

April 23, 2009 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

Civics Lesson: Regular Order 


This is how it is supposed to work: The country faces a problem that may need a legislative fix.  The relevant committees in Congress having jurisdiction over the topic area hold hearings, gathering information from experts that will inform legislation.  After the hearings are done, a bill is drafted and the relevant subcommittee conducts a meeting to begin the amendment process.


Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), who is now Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee in the Senate, announced that he will begin hearings on immigration reform next week.  The first hearing, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How” will be held on April 30.


The witnesses for this hearing will include: J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police, Montgomery County, MD and currently the Director, Major Cities Chiefs Association; Alan Greenspan, Former Chairman, Federal Reserve; Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland Church (Longwood, FL); Doris Meissner, Former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; and Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union.


You should be able to listen in on the hearing by going to this page on the Judiciary Committee’s Web site and clicking on “Webcast.”


DREAM Act 


The DREAM Act, as of this writing, now has 21 sponsors in the Senate.  38 Representatives are sponsoring the House version.  You can check on progress with co-sponsors by going to our DREAM Act legislation page.  Click on the links that say “List of Co-sponsors.”  You will also find links to materials about the DREAM Act produced by colleague organizations, including a report released this week by the College Board, “Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students.”  This report makes the case that the untenable status of these students is a humanitarian and civil rights issue, as well as an economic one, and debunks the myths that undocumented students limit opportunities for others.

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