Crossposted from Conversation 101, which I'm not allowed to link to yet, since I'm a noob: So, our discussion of Arizonas immigration law has led us to the inevitable question: what is the federal government going to do about it? Thats what all this is about: Arizona doesnt think that the government is doing enough to help them secure the border, so they passed what ended up being a pretty ill-worded piece of their own legislation. And their defense? Well, we have to do what we have to do because Washingtons not helping. Its a little like a college girl getting a job as a stripper because her parents arent sending her enough money. Shes entitled, and she thinks shes solving her problem in a practical (if poorly thought out) way. But while her friends may think its an OK idea, not surprisingly, her folks are a little pissed. So, what do the parents do to solve this situation? Thats really what were after here. The larger answer is what everyone calls comprehensive immigration reform. A large package of bits of legislation designed to solve the multiple issues were currently having with immigration. But, theres an election in three months, so dont hold your breath. Republicans sure as hell arent going to squander some well-cultivated anger and motivation on the part of their anti-immigration base; and Democrats, who promised the Hispanic community immigration reform, arent going to pass something that may be seen as too harsh. So, the solution looks to be taking a piecemeal approach. Starting with whats dubbed The DREAM Act: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he will push the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) forward before the end of this year. In a statement, Senator Reid told reporters that he would consider pushing the DREAM Act as a separate piece of legislation this fall instead of including it in a broader comprehensive immigration reform package. Even though the DREAM Act enjoys bipartisan support, many Republicans may not be willing to support broader immigration reform measures in an election year. The majority leader has stated that he would not consider immigration reform if he did not have 60 votes in the senate to pass a comprehensive reform package. But today, Reid told reporters that he plans to push immigration reform legislation this fall in a comprehensive way, and that if there is not support for a broader package, he would take a real strong look at the DREAM Act as a standalone piece of legislation. If enacted, the DREAM Act would serve as an important step towards comprehensive immigration reform. In 2007, ten Republican Senators, including Orrin Hatch and Olympia Snowe, voted with Democrats on S2205, a very similar bill to the DREAM Act. Today, however, Republican opposition to even this small, relatively popular piece of the larger puzzle is being expressed by folks like John Cornyn: This is getting to be a joke. No one believes that there is enough time that we could do a responsible job, said Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The Senate should approach the issue in a responsible, reasonable way and not just try to play to the peanut gallery and act like were going to do something were not. A summary of the legislation follows. Ill let you decide who the peanut gallery is: Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma; (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal; and (6) was under age 35 on the date of this Acts enactment. Sets forth the conditions for conditional permanent resident status, including: (1) termination of status for violation of this Act; and (2) removal of conditional status to permanent status. Authorizes an alien who has satisfied the appropriate requirements prior to enactment of this Act to petition the Secretary for conditional permanent resident status. Provides for: (1) exclusive jurisdiction; (2) penalties for false application statements; (3) confidentiality; (4) fee prohibitions; (5) higher education assistance; and (6) a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report respecting the number of aliens adjusted under this Act.