The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Thursday on whether to consider legislation that would give young immigrants brought to the country illegally the chance to become citizens.
The House of Representatives approved the bill - known as the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors, or the DREAM act - on Wednesday. The bill passed the House by a vote of 216 to 198. Observers, though, say it has little chance of passing in the Senate.
The bill would grant illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. while under the age of 16 the opportunity to gain legal residency - and ultimately citizenship - by going to college or serving in the U.S. military for two years.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement praising the House action, calling it "the right thing to do" for America. He said it would correct a flaw in the nation's immigration system that punishes young people who have grown up in the U.S. and have already made contributions to their communities.
The measure has faced stiff opposition from Republicans, who say the measure would encourage and reward illegal immigration.
Opponents say it gives illegal immigrants a fast-track to citizenship through college or the military, while immigrants who came to the U.S. legally do not have the same opportunity.
Article by VOA News