California Congressman re-introduces DREAM Actby Hugh Holub on May. 11, 2011, under immigration law reform, politics
Press Release may 11, 2011:
Calfornia Congressman Howard Berman Introduces DREAM Act 2011
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Howard L. Berman will reintroduce the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). Since 2001, Congressman Berman has authored and introduced the DREAM Act in each subsequent Congress. The legislation, which was approved by the US House of Representatives last year, provides qualifying young immigrants the opportunity to earn citizenship and pursue their dreams of positively contributing to America’s economy and security.
“In America we teach young people that if you work hard and stay in school you will succeed, and yet this turns out to be a cruel hoax for thousands of children who through no fault of their own are undocumented immigrants with no opportunity to adjust their immigration status,” said Congressman Howard L. Berman. “Last year when the DREAM Act passed in the House of Representatives we got closer than ever to finally removing the obstacles in our broken immigration system that prevent bright, young students here in America from pursuing higher education, serving in the military, seeking legitimate employment, and achieving American citizenship.”
“It makes no sense for the US to bring in thousands of highly-skilled foreign guest workers to join our workforce and at the same time do nothing to provide an opportunity to kids who have grown up here in America, gone to school here, and who want to prepare themselves for these jobs or serve in our military. This is why the DREAM Act enjoys a broad base of support from CEOs, military leaders, labor leaders, teachers, school principals, and community leaders,” added Congressman Berman.
Currently, thousands of young people are penalized for the misdeeds of their parents and provided few choices following high school to step out from the shadows and legally contribute to the American economy. To fix this problem, the DREAM Act allows these individuals to earn a conditional resident status if they:
§ Were 15 years old or younger when brought into America by their parents
§ Have lived in the United States for at least five years before enactment of the law
§ Are of good moral character, and
§ Earned a high school degree or a GED
These eligible young people would then have six years to have the conditional status removed and earn lawful permanent resident status if they:
§ Successfully complete two years of higher education, or
§ Complete two years of military service and if discharged, receive only an honorable discharge
Additionally, the DREAM Act would return states the right to decide who will have access to state higher education benefits.
President Obama has repeatedly expressed strong support for the DREAM Act, and yesterday during a speech in El Paso, Texas once again urged Congress to pass this much needed legislation. Additionally, Congressman Berman is joined in this effort by a bipartisan group of dedicated cosponsors including Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-18) and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-34). Additionally, previous versions of the DREAM Act have also been supported by the business community, the labor community, military leaders, teachers, principles, state and local government officials, and community leaders.”
COMMENT: The DREAM Act makes all kinds of sense. The kids who were brought across the border by their parents ought not to be punished for what their parents did. These kids have no “home” in Mexico or elsewhere to go back to. They are as “American” as you and I in their outlook and experience.
If Republicans expect Obama to work with them on securing the border, maybe GOP leaders ought to offer an olive branch and get the DREAM Act through Congress.
And this from Presente.org:
Yesterday, President Obama gave a major speech in El Paso, Texas, where he announced a renewed push for immigration reform. Specifically, he spoke about immigrant students, many of whom would benefit from the DREAM Act–a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for the thousands of young men and women currently pursuing an education here in the states.
But today there are literally tens of thousands of young men and women facing deportation because the DREAM Act isn’t law. Raul is one of them. He was brought here as a child and currently attends the University of Texas where he’s studying to be an architect, but has a deportation hearing on May 26th where he could be told he must leave. And unfortunately, President Obama’s speech didn’t say anything about helping kids like Raul who need an intervention right now.
The President has the power to help. He can issue an executive order to stop the deportation of DREAMers until we get that legislation passed. And if he’s serious about immigration reform, that’s exactly what he should do.
In these critical days following the President’s speech, the media will be watching public reaction closely. If we can show thousands of us demanding action right now, we can make a real impact on the public debate and help save thousands of amazing students from deportation. Can you click below to sign our petition asking President Obama to use his executive authority to stop the deportations of DREAMers?
Sadly, Raul’s story is not unique. In Texas alone, there is Benita Veliz who came to the United States from Mexico when she was eight years old, graduated as the valedictorian of her high school, and is now in removal proceedings. Mario Perez came to this country when he was five and now studies math and statistics as he fights his deportation order.
DREAMers like these across the country have asked the President to use his executive authority to stop their deportations. Unfortunately, despite the advice of legal scholars1 and calls from members of his own party,2 the President has refused to halt the deportations of young people like Raul, Benita and Mario.
The longer he waits to take action, the more young people will be deported. They need our help and we need to pressure the Obama administration to grant them executive relief.
1. “Legal Experts Weigh in on Executive Branch Authority,” Immigration Policy Center, 4-29-11
2. “Twenty-Two Senators Ask Obama to Stop Deporting DREAMers,” Colorlines.com, 4-11-11
And from Border Action Network press release:
After a Decade of Inaction, Community Organization Urges Passage of DREAM Act in 112th Congress
Tucson, AZ – Earlier today, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was re-introduced in both Houses of Congress. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the bill in the Senate along with 30 other co-sponsors. Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced it in the House of Representatives.
The bill gives certain undocumented youth the chance to earn legal status in the United States through higher education or military service. Eligibility requirements include continuous residency in the U.S. for at least five years, good moral standing, graduation from high school or completion of a GED, and the ability to read, write and speak English.
Mo Goldman, an immigration attorney in Tucson and Chair of the Board of Directors for Border Action Network, an Arizona-based community organization, says passage of the DREAM Act is long overdue.
“It has been a decade since the DREAM Act was first introduced and up until now, neither the Executive Branch or Congress has been able to get the job done. In the meantime, we’re unfortunately seeing hundreds of thousands of students and potential service members just languishing. We hope that Congress will take the opportunity to get this important legislation on to the President’s desk so he can sign it into law.”
In addition to thousands of youth pursuing higher education or serving our country through military service, a myriad of reasons point to the need to pass the DREAM Act. A UCLA study concluded that DREAM Act participants could contribute $1.4 – $3.6 trillion to our economy during their working lives. Furthermore, the Defense Department’s Fiscal Year Budget for 2010-2012 includes the DREAM Act as a means to help “shape and maintain a mission-ready All-Volunteer Force.”
There is also overwhelming bipartisan support for the DREAM Act in Congress and from the American people. Notable supporters include General Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, organizations like the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the US Conference of Mayors and the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies such as Microsoft.
“Our government has a responsibility to give these aspiring individuals an opportunity to succeed in the country that they call home,” says Goldman. “Passing this legislation would benefit our country, our economy and our future, and we urge Congress to make sure these promising youth become assets to our country rather than liabilities.”