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Brown emphasizes his opposition to Dream Act

Coalition makes last-ditch appeal

FACING SENATE VOTE “I think it’s a back-door amnesty and I’m not in favor of it,’’ Senator Scott Brown said of a bill aimed at helping illegal immigrants of college age. FACING SENATE VOTE
“I think it’s a back-door amnesty and I’m not in favor of it,’’ Senator Scott Brown said of a bill aimed at helping illegal immigrants of college age.
By Russell Contreras
Associated Press / December 14, 2010

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Senator Scott Brown said yesterday that he will not support the Dream Act, and called the bill, which is aimed at helping illegal immigrants of college age, “back-door amnesty.’’

Speaking to reporters at a Salvation Army charity event in downtown Boston, the Massachusetts Republican said he would not vote for the proposal despite months of intense pressure from advocates and educators that included Harvard University’s president, Drew Faust.

“I’m not supportive of it,’’ he said. “I think it’s a back-door amnesty and I’m not in favor of it.’’

Under the proposal, some illegal immigrants would qualify for permanent legal residency by graduating from college or trade school, or by joining the military. The Senate is slated to vote on the measure this week, but supporters aren’t sure they have enough votes to break a filibuster.

Brown’s remarks came as a coalition of educators, religious leaders, and advocates for immigrants made a last-ditch appeal asking him to support the proposal. Brown also had been a target of a national campaign by advocates.

For months, supporters of the bill and illegal immigrant college students, who call themselves “Dreamers,’’ have staged sit-ins, rallies, and marches outside Brown’s office. Students have left hundreds of signed letters from supporters and young immigrants who said they would enlist in the military if the bill passed.

In September, Brown came out against the Dream Act being attached to a defense bill, and said supporters were “playing politics with military funding in order to extend a form of amnesty to certain illegal immigrants.’’

But advocates had remained hopeful that Brown might support a stand-alone bill after hearing stories from students who live in Massachusetts. Many of the students who would benefit from the bill were brought to the United States as young children.

“It’s unfortunate that Senator Brown has decided to stand against the majority of the American public on this issue,’’ said Kyle de Beausset, a US citizen and a member of the Boston-based Student Immigrant Movement. “Amnesty implies forgiveness. How can you give forgiveness to innocent, young people who did nothing wrong?’’

Renata Teodoro, 23, a Boston student who would benefit from the Dream Act, said Brown’s decision would not affect her efforts on behalf of the bill.

“It’s not going to stop me or us from trying to persuade him and other senators about the Dream Act,’’ said Teodoro, who has organized protests outside Brown’s Boston office. “I’m disappointed, but I’m not discouraged.’’

Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.