Sign up for Updates
and the e-Edition
image image

DREAM Act draws fire at Senate hearing

Undocumented college students from California protest in support of the federal DREAM Act. A state version, which would give certain rights such as identification documents and access to health care and financial aid for certain qualified undocumented immigrants, drew criticism at a homeland security public hearing. Photo by AP.
April 18, 2011
Although a U.S. Senate filibuster blocked passage of the federal DREAM Act, aimed at providing identification documents and even citizenship to undocumented minors, similar legislation is currently sponsored in both houses of the state Legislature.

The act, which is named the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, if adopted by New York, would give qualified illegal aliens access to state identification documents, health insurance, employment programs and financial aid for higher learning.

"Undocumented youth in this great state go to school, love their families, participate in their communities and dream of bright futures," said the bill's Senate sponsor, Bill Perkins, D-Harlem. "These youth and their families deserve recognition and justice, not inequalities."

The bill (S.4179/A.6892), sponsored in the Assembly by Guillermo Linares, D-Manhattan, would only apply to those who entered the country before the age of 16, completed high school or obtained an equivalent degree, have no felony convictions and have either completed two years toward a college degree or served in the National Guard.

"The New York DREAM Act is narrowly tailored to give youth who have grown up and gone to school in New York the opportunity to give back to our community and our economy," said Perkins.

However, testimony at a state Senate public hearing April 8 suggested the act would make New York vulnerable to terrorists.

Mike Cutler, a retired Immigration and Naturalization Service special agent, who spoke at the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee's hearing, called access to driver's licenses a key tool terrorists use to "hide in plain sight."

"Are there implications with the DREAM Act that go to the heart of what you're talking about?" asked committee Chairman Greg Ball, R-Patterson.

"Absolutely," replied Cutler.

"That's why I've come to call the comprehensive immigration reform program the terrorist assistance and facilitation act," said Cutler. "If you start to give people official identity documents and lawful status, then you're providing them with an opportunity to create their own witness protection program."

In 2007, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer created national controversy by pushing a plan that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain New York driver's licenses, a plan Spitzer gave up on after being met with overwhelming opposition.

After the hearing, Ball was asked whether he would be opposed to Perkins' bill based on the testimony he heard.

"As chairman of Homeland Security and someone who realizes that the 19 hijackers on 9/11 had over 300 forms of identification, we've got to make sure that our New York state driver's licenses and other forms of state identification are thorough and that they remain an international standard," said Ball. "To the extent that any act or any legislative push would weaken that, I'd be against it. But we'll see in future meetings."

"That is absolutely nonsense," said Perkins, responding to the testimony and Ball's remarks that linked the legislation and terrorism. Perkins called America a "country of immigrants" and said equating immigrants to terrorists was "un-American."

"I think it's a hot rhetoric that is only divisive and totally misses the mark," said Perkins.

Ball is not the only legislator to have expressed concerns about what he sees as possible negative consequences of the DREAM Act.

"Illegal aliens break the laws of the United States as their first act in this country, and now politicians in the New York City-dominated Assembly want to reward them with new rights and entitlements," said Assemblyman Dan Burling, R-Warsaw. "There are processes that need to be followed to be legally allowed to live in this country and these laws are for the protection of the citizens already here. While the system is not perfect, people who circumvent our rules entirely and enter this country unlawfully should be sent back to their country of origin, not rewarded with new rights and entitlements."

Perkins has 13 Democratic co-sponsors on the bill, which was referred to the Senate Finance Committee March 22. The bill is in the Governmental Operations Committee in the Assembly and has 19 co-sponsors.

  1. print email
    April 18, 2011 | 07:01 PM

    Go DREAM ACT!!!!!

    To all beneficial students, this will bless our nation!!!

  2. print email
    dream act
    April 18, 2011 | 07:43 PM

    We the dreamers.... just want a chance to make our lives better! We would not disappoint Ny State or the USA

  3. print email
    April 19, 2011 | 11:35 AM

    if it seems congress is afraid of terrorist attacks they should change the age requirements to becoming a United States citizen. Instead of having lived 16 years in the united states they should let children who have been brought over to the country at a young age and have attend elementary,middle school, high school and graduated with a diploma.They should have records to prove residence for the period time they have stayed in the U.S. They have been here long enough and have educated themselves with our countries history.They should be given the benefits that our country has to offer. If congress cant cut of a big peace atleast give them a little.

  4. print email
    Dream Act
    April 19, 2011 | 01:23 PM

    This bill would benefit millions of students. It would beneficial for the state and the nation to get these people out of the shadows, look at the latest census, the hispanic polulation and immigrants are a growing majority, we need to embrace them and support them. By doing so will increase tax revenues and help Social Security for seniors. People have to realize that helping them will help everyone in the long run.

  5. print email
    April 19, 2011 | 02:37 PM

    I think comparing the number of "potential terrorists" to the number it would benefit is so irrelevant its not even funny....if a terrorist wants to come they will do so legal or not...this does not relate to the DREAM Act but is merely trying to instill some false fear in Americans..use your head people that makes no sense!!

    The DREAM Act would benefit people who are in serious URGENT need of a path to legalization....they were brought here as children by the decision of their not blame them! We are creating a whole nother class in our society..We always pride ourselves on so many things, but our immigration system should put this country to shame! SUPPORT THE DREAM ACT! never a more worthy immmigration law..

  6. print email
    The Nightmare "dream act"travesty! NEVER!
    April 19, 2011 | 03:13 PM

    The "dream act" poster children represent less than 1/20th of 1% of the Illegal Aliens who have been gaming and abusing the Laws and benefits if the USA! The Open Borders/La Raza Crowd of Invaders and "Useful Fool" Progressives are aiding and abetting the 20+ million Illegals from south of the border (20% of the population of Mexico) and doing everything they can to bring in more!They see the Nightmare Dream Act as backdoor Amnesty and Just a Start in "Reconquista"!

  7. print email
    Legal Immigrants First!!!
    April 19, 2011 | 04:47 PM

    Sorry Dreamers,

    The USA is not your nation, you are law breaking line jumpers, and legal students and immigrants from around the world would be a much greater asset to America.

    Plus you already have a path to US Citizenship, go to your home country and enter legally like everyone else in the world does.

    Vinh Le
  8. print email
    April 19, 2011 | 05:11 PM

    So why do you law breaking foreigners think you should receive $millions$ in benefits law abiding foreign students do not receive? In state tuition, financial aid, automatic green card, high paying US job, green cards for your relatives, it is all worth millions of dollars.

    Why are you law breakers so special you should receive it instead of law abiding foreigners?

    Vinh Le
  9. print email
    Dream Act
    April 19, 2011 | 09:09 PM

    Who will pay for educating these lawbreakers?
    Take a look at rural towns with all the South of the border graffiti.
    These guys do not want to be citizens. They want to earn the American wage and send it to their home country where it is worth 10 fold.
    Every town now has Latino grocery stores that primarily serve as money transfer stations to Latin America. 28 billion a year to Mexico alone sent via these grocery stores.
    Put Dream Act to a vote! Ask taxpayers if they would support a tax increase to educate illegal immigrants who send money out of the country!

  10. print email
    April 19, 2011 | 09:32 PM

    Illegal aliens from Latin America especially the invading Mexican army ARE NOT THE FUTURE OF AMERICA!
    They are the scourge of damnation from HELL!

    We need the American dream known an DEPORTATION to all non-Americans to the land of their birth! WE ARE SICK OF ALL OF YOU Illegal SLUGS!

  11. print email
    Message to Laura!
    April 19, 2011 | 09:34 PM

    Laura go back to Mexico and take your parents with you! You will never bless this nation!
    We were bless with only Americans living here! Go home and leave us alone!

  12. print email
    Speak up!
    April 19, 2011 | 10:49 PM


    In a letter to U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, one of the Leftist Czar in the Justice Department, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has labeled Utah's guest worker amnesty as "illegal" and expressed consternation at Attorney General Holder's obvious refusal to enforce the law in Utah when he has been so quick to counter Arizona's interior enforcement laws. This shows the Liberal influence pushing for some form--any form of amnesty, that the TEA PARTY will fight as the costs are astronomical, and it overruling the laws of of our country. This is a contradiction to Janet Napolitano stating that the Border fence is more secure than ever before.

    On Fox News and on C-Span TV broadcasts, has illustrated the mess our immigration laws are? Not because they are poorly organized, but because the laws are not enforced. If the TEA PARTY has any effect on this major problem, the will be no Comprehensive Immigration Reform (AMNESTY): killing Sanctuary State policies, the Dream Act Amnesty; Chain migration (Amnesty) or anything else that stinks of Amnesty for lawbreakers. Thatís why we have millions of illegal aliens pouring into this country, because at some future time, they expect--MASS AMNESTY. It never worked in 1986, so it certainly will not work now? Not because of bad leadership at the borders, but owing to the fact that hundreds of miles in this dangerous territory, the US Border Patrol clashes with stupid, environmental laws imposed by the Bureau of Land Management , Game and Fisheries and Forest, Parks and Public lands.

    Rancher Jim Chilton put this lie to rest, by stating to a federal committee, that his 50 miles of border, of which he owns is wide open to the drug traffickers and illegal people smugglers. Jim Chilton added where there is a fence; it is no different to what you see rusting along any highway. In Chilton testimony he explained to the mix of party members, that the people live in fear along the border. If you leave your home itís likely to get broken into. His own ranch had been burglarized twice and he cannot go outside, unless he is fully armed. So because of land managed laws, the US border Patrol must ask for permission to enter certain areas of land, because of such things as the endangered species Act. While at the same time the criminal surveillance persons have the most expensive binoculars and other equipment to watch the movement of the border patrol. The Border agents are essentially not patrolling along the border fence, where they are needed.

    Is there some ominous connection between the drug cartels and why the--REAL--fences, between our southern border and our National security? Does it seem strange to anybody else that after the 2006 Secure Fence Act was enacted, almost within a month funding for the bill was cut drastically and even today not even a single fencing has been completed? If the first steel enforced fence had been constructed, with a second fence, some thousand feet apart, maybe the drug traffickers would have not easy access to the children of America. With "drag roads" as they are called, ( parallel patrol tracks between the fences) between the 15 foot chain link fence, adorned with concertina razor wire, manned by permanent National Guard watchtowers within visible sight of each other. One Republican has sponsored a third fence scenario, which would be even a greater deterrent to the drug and illegal alien invasion.


    States that ignore immigration laws, such as Sanctuary California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, will have endured floods of economic new Arrivals that politicians will force their taxpayers to financially support. Georgia and a few more concerned States will not bare the major money burden of fewer welfare aliens searching for another location to pilfer of public services.

    America is in a sorry way under numerous administrations, that have built massive governments agencies and many should be closed down. We are overextended in credit and we must bail ourselves out, by cutting costs to thousands of government agencies. With a rising 14 Trillion dollar deficit, that itís not going away and all Americans must be prepared to draw in the financial belts. The Obama government must draw out the criminals that are stealing from Medicare and Medicaid. Huge criminal organizations are stealing from taxpayers, with dubious doctors and expensive tests. No matter the fiscal Consequences we must not go above the US debt system, by the leftist democrats using fear. Illegal immigration is not a small issue, as it now has grown out of all proportions and costing us billions every year.

    Itís no good expecting the Democrats or the Republicans to dig us out of this mess, as only the TEA PARTY is a growing party, splitting from the wealthy right. They have the empowerment to solve this out-of-control-problem. Visit a local TEA PARTY website no matter what religion, party affiliation, as long as you entered the United States legally. Find out what illegal immigration is costing you. Did you know that you, the taxpayer support the education for illegal alien children and free health care for the whole family? Do you know that they get priority over US Citizens for low income housing, if they have four children? All these answers and more can be located at NumbersUSA.

    Remember if you buy American, you may be saving your job?

    The liberal agenda is awash and must be ended. No more environmentalistsís threats and start drilling for oil in Alaska, the Gulf and anywhere else? We are being held hostage by Saudi Arabia and fossil fuel countries, which our military fought and died for in the Gulf War. Nor should we exhaust our corn supplies for ethanol demand. America can build anything of a better quality, then anything from Communist China or cheap labor nations. Only one television unit is made in the United States today and importers of inferior products is making a fortune on America as unemployment grows. The vicious trade circle is enlarging all the time, when we buy a cheap computer or appliance and put more American in the welfare line. Seen ABC Channel seven of the house that was emptied of all foreign goods with only one glass vase left in the room. The Mega-corporations are outsourcing highly skilled US citizens and legal residents, while we receive indigent people who steal past our poorly guarded single fence; with hundreds of miles of our national border open to the incursions of foreigners undercutting low income American jobs. As for Nafta and Cafta that our representatives approved, they are unfair trade treaties and now they are going to allow Mexican 18 wheeler rigs on our highways throughout America. What is wrong with the people who run America; somewhere they must be on the take, as no patriot would arrange business practices that are hurting the American people?

  13. print email
    April 20, 2011 | 03:21 PM

    Not all mexicans or migrants are the same.....many of have made wrong desicions but that doesn't mean every one else is the same..what do yall have agianst this people they just want to reach their dream to be known somewhere like some one!! dont be selfish and give everyone an opportunitty to reach their dreams everyone is equal... give US A CHANCE !!!!

    karina milan
  14. print email
    April 20, 2011 | 09:05 PM

    you people are really ignorant terrorist have nothing to do with the DREAM ACT

  15. print email
    This is NOT Affordable
    April 21, 2011 | 11:08 AM

    When you have US-born students paying 30,000$ +interest for loans just to go to trade school and a university education at 50-0,000 100,000 + interest for many with non-dischargeable debt that can last even a lifetime, what sort of nonsense can justify this? No one can afford this handout program. If someone wishes to sponsor someone in this category with legal assistance and tuition assistance then they are free to do so. Just do not ask impoverished citizens of US, many of which who are homeless now to fund this parade.

  16. print email
    who is american and who is not???
    April 26, 2011 | 02:32 PM

    I was surprised to see that many people opposed the bill because of patriotic concerns and unfounded arguments. US has always been an immigrant nation. there is no real American. The real Americans are the native Indians that were oppressed and put in reservations by while invaded. Those who say "we American, we do not need you immigrants" should know that they are immigrants themselves. They killed the real Americans and they made themselves Americans, while they are not. America is a place for everyone and when the US started oppressing immigrants, its economy started to fail and collapse. I hope that this bill will be passed in Congress to make sure that the US continues to be faithful to its spirit "Justice and Liberty for all". God Bless America, the land of the free!

  17. print email
    April 26, 2011 | 02:43 PM

    The Dream Act will not bless our nation. There is only one who can do that and it is God. What this nation needs to do is stop labeling and etc. People are people period. We seem to care more for dogs and etc but people we don't seem to take the same care and interest in. People just need to stand up for people. Our troops need our support in prayer, our Congress need our support in prayer, and our President needs our support in prayer. Rather you disgree or agree with what they are doing, hold it in, find solutions to the matters then creating more. There are so many Americans who can not even afford to go to school, some who were but no longer can attend. Everyone has dreams, if we would just stop for a minute and remember as a child climbing up the stairs how one would be holding a parent's hand and then with the other hand would reach for another parent or sibling's hand to come along with you. If we would just do that to another. It not about latino, Black, Republican, Democrat, Disabled or any other label placed upon people, it is about we being God's greatest investment, being created in His image, and mattering so much to Him that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us. People lives we of value to God and God accepts everyone for we all were formed from the dust of ground (black dirt, red dirt, brown dirt, white dirt, and yellow dirt) then maybe we should be the same rather people have a card or not. God has given us all a birth right to Heaven in Jesus and anywhere else. Over and out!

    Semper 151
  18. print email
    April 27, 2011 | 02:57 AM

    Funny how politicians keep using 9/11 as a sort of tool. Dream Act is going to lead to terrorism, Really? thats just disrespect to those who died in 9/11. I honestly do not get how many damn Republicans could be so ignorant and stupid; hopefully one day they all fall in a hole in Mexico or Jamaica with drug lords and get treated with the same disgust they seem to have with STUDENTS!

    Eddie weguelldo
  19. print email
    Dream act
    April 27, 2011 | 06:44 PM

    Wow Eddie, you're such a loser. God has no place in politics.

    Devin Gale
  20. print email
    I support the Dream Act!
    April 28, 2011 | 07:39 PM

    I would rather my money go to helping undocumented youth receive an education than to congress' paycheck

  21. print email
    April 28, 2011 | 11:16 PM

    Im a young woman and I bet most of you are grown adults, you are all ignorant and probably scared of being proved that you aren't above anyone and Hispanics can make a change. Apparently the USA needs someone to step in and change this country from going down the drain, you dont know one of this students could be the change we need. Who are all you people to say someone doesn't deserve to have a good life , you dont know them or know what they've been through. Most I know are more hard working then most Americans!! You should all be ashamed of yourself and the way you speak, karma will come your way!

    maria (i am hispanic and i am not illegal before
  22. print email
    Not so pathetic
    May 02, 2011 | 11:04 PM

    maria, I am an adult, against the Dream Act, and neither ignorant, nor scared. The people this act is intended to help were brought here illegally by their parents seeking to provide their children with a better life. In that regard, I have the utmost respect for their intentions, and would most likely do the same in their place. However, it was done illegally, and if we enact the Dream Act we not only legitimize their parents illegal actions, but we encourage more parents to do the same, while at the same time, slapping the faces of those trying to become United States citizens legally. We need a system that addresses the current difficulty to legally become a citizen, and then the people currently here illegally need to get in line behind those already waiting for citizenship, not fast forwarded through the system because their parents snuck them in.

  23. print email
    If America doesnt take them Some other Country will
    May 05, 2011 | 12:55 PM

    There are many students that await for this progressive bill to pass. I am hope that it pass because I live in California where I paided my way through college for a BS wanting to go Cal Tech for Grad School. There are even students from Havard,MIT that i have met at conferences waiting for this bill to pass and put their skills to work. The worl is very competitive and i am tired of waiting. Im thinking of going to Canada,Euro or even China with a prof visa. I love this country for what its taught me and given me but people wont wait for ever. If America doesnt take us in there other countries that are willing to take us in.

    American at heart
  24. print email
    no rewards
    May 10, 2011 | 01:33 PM

    no reward for people who come here illegally.we don't want your kind of law breaking people.
    if it were up to me you would lose your right to come here legally!

    donald t
  25. print email
    dream act
    May 10, 2011 | 03:54 PM

    Dream Act are for those young people who thinks of the future, who envision growth not only for themselves but for the country where they are now USA. Most people who opposed this bill are those who just collects welfare and do nothing to help the country. They are the one who just sit dpwn and wait for those hard working people like the young people who will be the recepient of this bill to work and pay their taxes so that these lazy people who oppose it can continue to suck the nations money.

  26. print email
    Tie repeal of affirmative action to passage of the DREAM act!
    May 12, 2011 | 12:41 PM

    The DREAM ACT will add countless numbers of people immediately afforded advantages in the workplace by affirmative action. Not fair to those uncovered by affirmative action. The DREAM act will add countless numbers of affirmative action protected individuals to compete for employment and advancement with those not advantaged by affirmative action.

  27. print email
    to all against dream act
    May 18, 2011 | 01:53 AM

    Im not saying your racist... im just saying your damn right stupid!!! Make it so they cant petition for siblings and its not like they at the age of 2 or 3 had a choice so stop being so damn stupid. P.S. writing this from U.K. studied in a California school and now making $200,000 US currency for my skills as an engineer first year

    Go DREAM
  28. print email
    September 16, 2011 | 07:43 AM

    Considering the Time Square bomber was a citizen, I think its time the US stops using 9/11 to scare the Nation. These are just kids that want to learn!! I grew up in a town full of Americans, I was the only minority. Half of my classmates went to college(I was one)- extremely sad because they had all the help they could get and I paid out of pocket! Couldn't get a loan. Now I am lost, but I keep on dreaming.

Reader Feedback Submission
Use this form to submit Reader Feedback. Your submission will be reviewed by our staff before appearing on the Web site.
* required value
Your Name*



inclusion image
10 - 06 - 15
Site Search

Queens College
Empire State College
NY Ship
The Legislative Gazette | P.O. Box 7329 | Room 116 | Empire State Plaza | Concourse Level | Albany, NY 12224 | (518) 473-9739