Reintroduction of the DREAM Act

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832

Reviving the DREAM

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 32 cosponsors introduced the DREAM Act, legislation that, if passed, would provide undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship if they attend college for two years or enlist in the military. Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also will introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives today. This legislation, which has been introduced in every congressional session since 2001, has received widespread support from the business, labor, education, and faith sectors, and enjoys high public approval ratings. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Senator Durbin, Representative Berman, Representative Ros-Lehtinen, and the other members of Congress who cosponsored this legislation recognize that passing this bill cannot come quickly enough for the young men and women — and children — whom it affects. Every day, talented young people are caught in the immigration enforcement dragnet and deported. That’s why, a few weeks ago, several senators also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to use his executive authority to make deferred action available on a more systematic basis to DREAM-eligible individuals, and thus to provide these Americans-at-heart a more reliable means of avoiding being deported from the only country they know.

“Last year, after a thrilling win in the House of Representatives, the DREAM Act, like so much other commonsense legislation that had been proposed, fell victim to partisan politics. The loss wasn’t felt only by the children affected by this legislation; it was felt by the entire Latino community, who watched the vote as it was broadcast live by the country’s two largest Spanish-language television networks.

“Yesterday, during a major address on immigration, President Obama reaffirmed his support for this much-needed legislation. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security continues to deport young DREAMers, even though they may be mere months away from having the opportunity to normalize their immigration status. While our greatest hope is that the DREAM Act becomes law, until then, we call on President Obama to use prosecutorial discretion to grant relief to these students. We cannot continue to lose these vital members of our communities. Our economy and society are suffering because of inaction.”

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