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Immigration reform: A chance to remain here legally

Congress has a chance in this lame-duck session to enact a modest immigration reform that can keep thousands of young, productive immigrants in this country.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, the DREAM Act, would give young adults brought here with their parents illegally as children a chance to remain and even become American citizens.

Now the young people, many of whom have obtained college degrees and have careers, could be sent back to a country they have never known after spending most of their lives in the United States. They came here through no fault or choice of their own, but can now still be deported.

The DREAM Act would make legal residency available to those under 35 if they arrived here before they were 16, have lived here for at least five years, graduated from high school and either completed two years of college or military service. They cannot have criminal records and would still have to undergo background checks.

The DREAM Act would address but one issue by providing a path to legal residence that will allow young people to work openly, pursue productive careers, and serve the country they have called home. That deserves bipartisan support.

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