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Dem congressman: Obama’s DREAM Act order was ‘dress rehearsal’

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Luis Gutierrez

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, covering immigrants who arrived illegally at a young age, was merely a preview of coming attractions for more comprehensive immigration reform.

One year ago, the president signed his deferred action executive order that provided for temporary legal status to those illegal immigrants who arrived before the age of 16 and who are currently below the age of 30, according to a statement on the congressman’s web site.

Obama signed the order when Congress failed to pass a “Dream Act,” standing for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. Young immigrants who would come under this are often referred to as “Dreamers.”

Gutierrez referred to the president’s order as a “turning point,” and said that, “Politically it was a huge boost to the President and helped galvanize Democrats around immigration reform and putting a stop to needless deportations that break up families and waste resources. ”

“DACA was an important test for the pro-immigrant movement in this country,” Gutierrez said in the statement marking the one-year anniversary of the presidential order. “When we get a broader immigration bill passed this year, it is going to require a massive civil undertaking to get people in the system and on the books, but [the deferred action program] was a good dress rehearsal.”

The Chicago-area congressman acknowledged that his Chicago and Cicero offices currently assist 80-100 “Dreamers” each month, and that nationwide, “about 400,000 young immigrants” have attained temporary legal status under the president’s deferred action program.

Gutierrez is one of 7 House members working on immigration reform.

Rather than enacting a huge comprehensive immigration reform package similar to that passed by the Senate, House Republicans lean toward a piecemeal approach, beginning with border security.

“Rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a joint statement with other GOP leaders after passage of the Senate vote.

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