Thursday, June 2, 2011

WR Refugee and Immigration Advocacy Update June 2, 2011-Part 3-DREAM

This information is provided by World Relief's Policy and Advocacy Director, Jenny Yang.

DREAM Act Reintroduced

On May 11, 2011, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-NV), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and 34 other co-sponsors, re-introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.952) a bill that would give certain undocumented students a chance to earn legal status.  Co-sponsors include the Chairs of all of the relevant Committees (Patrick Leahy (VT, Judiciary), Joseph Lieberman (CT, Homeland Security), and Carl Levin (MI, Armed Services).  All Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee are also signed on.  A companion bill was introduced in the House by Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) (HR.1842).

The “DREAM Act” would allow our country to prosper from the contributions made by promising and hardworking immigrant youth.  These youth were brought to the U.S. at a young age, but are not able to fully integrate into American society because of their immigration status.  Many did not even know about their status until they applied for college and were surprised to find that they are undocumented in the only country that they consider home.  If passed, the DREAM Act would provide a six-year path to a green card for undocumented children brought to the U.S. more than five years ago if they graduate from high school and continue on to college or military service.

Approximately 50,000-65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools each year who are American in their upbringing, values, and culture, and yet because of their immigration status often unable to pursue higher education.  The DREAM Act would help break the cycle of underemployment, instability, and poverty endured by undocumented immigrants.  Last December, despite bipartisan support from a majority of members of Congress, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the DREAM Act.

Click here for more information about the DREAM Act.  For more on the DREAM Act, see this release from Senator Durbin’s office. 
TAKE ACTION NOW! Ask your Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the bill!

Jenny Yang is Director of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief. Jenny has provide the information in these posts to people how have signed up for advocacy updates on World Relief’s Advocacy website. She is also co-author with Matthew Soerens of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate.