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Reid May Push DREAM Act in Lieu of Immigration Reform

Updated: 3 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may look to move a scaled-down immigration reform bill before the November elections if he believes comprehensive reform is dead for the year.

In an interview with La Opinion, the Nevada Democrat said he is largely leaving it up to reform advocates to tell him when a comprehensive bill is no longer viable and that the Senate should instead move to the narrower DREAM Act.

After backers of a comprehensive bill say “that they feel we cannot get [comprehensive immigration reform] done this year — and the reason why we cannot do it, it’s because we don’t have a single Republican — then I would like to figure out when can we do the DREAM Act. I would like to do it before the elections,” Reid told La Opinion.

The DREAM Act, sponsored by Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), would provide a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who agree go to college or serve in the military.

Facing a tough re-election fight this year, Reid has repeatedly sought to reassure Latino voters that he is committed to comprehensive immigration reform. But the issue has gone nowhere given Republicans and some Democrats haven’t wanted to take on the politically charged issue in an election year.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the Majority Leader remains committed to moving both comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act but that GOP opposition continues to stall progress.

“Sen. Reid is committed to moving a comprehensive immigration reform bill that is tough on lawbreakers, fair to taxpayers and practical to implement as soon as possible … but so far, no Republicans have been willing to sit with [Democrats] at the bargaining table,” Manley said.

Reid “shares the desire … to see the DREAM Act enacted as soon as possible,” he said. “He is looking for Republican support and the 60 votes to pass it.”

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