Nevada’s Reid Stimulates Small Business Growth, Takes Stand for DREAM Act Child Immigrants

As Congress thaws from its August recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has taken two big steps to support Nevada immigrants and help excite Latino voters. After battling with Republicans for months on policies they themselves have previously supported, Sen. Reid was finally able to get two GOP senators to join Democrats in allowing a vote on a bill, supported by President Obama, to aid small businesses with tax cuts and other incentives to grow. Small businesses are often lauded as the engines of the U.S. economy, and many unauthorized immigrants seek work at small companies rather than large businesses, which can be more targeted by ICE for workplace raids.

Sen. Reid took another, more obvious step to earn the support of Hispanic voters — he attached legislation known as the DREAM Act to a military spending bill. Each year Congress has to authorize the Pentagon to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars it needs to perform its functions, and because of the popularity of military spending the authorization bill is considered a “must-pass” piece of legislation.

By using his position as majority leader, Sen. Reid is able to use this fact to his advantage and force an up-or-down vote on the DREAM Act legislation. The DREAM Act would address the plight of the “1.5 Generation,” individuals who are, strictly speaking, illegal aliens but who have been in the United States since early childhood and who are culturally and functionally American. Specifically, the DREAM Act would allow unauthorized immigrants who have been in the country for five years since entering before age 16 and who have completed high school to pursue a path to legal permanent residence which includes two years of college or military service.

Sen. Reid’s maneuver is a bold one — according to National Public Radio, 57 percent of Nevadans support amending the Fourteenth Amendment to take away birthright citizenship. In other words, many of the voters he needs for reelection have anti-immigrant leanings. Nonetheless, Sen. Reid can force Republicans to show their opposition to finding a way to deal with the nation’s twelve million illegal immigrants and he can use that to excite the Hispanic bloc.

For the latest updates on the politics of immigration and the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, come back to our Nevada immigration blog. You can call us in Reno or Las Vegas for a free consultation about your case and how changing laws can affect you.

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