Groups make late push to salvage bill aiding illegal immigrant students

Immigrant advocate groups have mobilized across the country in what they call a last-ditch effort to persuade Congress to pass a bill that would grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant students, pressing for action in the remaining weeks when Democrats control both houses of Congress, reports the New York Times. The groups held marches, hunger strikes, prayer vigils and protests at lawmakers’ offices on Monday and Tuesday in support of the bill, which they call the Dream Act. Opponents are also in high gear, swamping some senators who have not disclosed their positions with faxes and phone calls. A vote on the bill has not been scheduled, but Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has said he could bring it up as early as this week. While its prospects do not look strong, both sides expect that any measure to legalize illegal immigrants would have far slimmer chances in Congress next year, when Republicans will have a majority in the House and increased strength in the Senate.

“We see this as our best opportunity now to get something done,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a group that favors the bill…

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