Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Support the Dream Act

Make your Call for Justice -- Support the Dream

As you may know, today the U.S. Senate is set to consider the DREAM Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization ActWe urge you to call your Senator to urge his/her support of DREAM, to provide an opportunity for undocumented studentsto gain legal immigration status. Moreover, we ask you to urge the Senators to include community service to the list of criteria for access to this program, restoring a provision of the original bill that was designed to embrace a broader cross section of the students who could benefit from this important program.
Please take a few minutes to call 202-224-3121 to connect to your senators' offices and ask that they take action to support DREAM, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
The DREAM Act -- particularly if it is broadened to include a greater number of immigrant youth and students -- deserves consideration as a "stand alone" bill. But in these weeks leading up to the mid-term elections, it has instead been offered by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) as an amendment to the "must pass" defense appropriations billWe resent that DREAM is being held hostage by the defense bill. We are very much aware that military conflicts produce millions of refugees and migrants every year, and in fact, many potential DREAM students and their families fled areas of conflict. Whether or not DREAM is included in the Defense Authorization Actwe further support the diversion of defense funds to education and social services

The vote today will determine if DREAM will move forward at all and it faces stiff opposition. Tens of thousands of young immigrants -- "undocumented and unafraid" -- and their supporters have rallied to support DREAM. We need to send a message to Congress that we stand on the side of justice and in support of immigrant youth and students, for their future, and that of their families.
And whatever the vote on DREAM, we need to continue to work to make it more accessible for young immigrants: broaden access to include community sevice as a criteria; provide more funds for public education and for job training. Make the dream of a brighter future a reality!
Make your call now to 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to each of your Senator's offices.
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Who could benefit from DREAM?
Just one year old, Daniel came to the U.S. from Mexico with an older sister to reunite with their parents. He is currently a student at the state university. He aspires to go into politics and give back to his community.
Diana was three when she came to the U.S. She graduated from college with a degree in business and marketing. Since she is undocumented, she currently makes her living by cleaning houses and doing childcare. But she continues to hope for more meaningful employment where she can put her skills to work.
John was born in Canada, but came to the U.S. when he was two as the child of a Filipino mother and Salvadoran father. He grew up in Oakland, graduating from high school in 2008. An exemplary student, John felt discouraged from applying to college because he would be ineligible for financial assistance due to his undocumented status. Since high school, John has become one of the youth leaders of ASPIRE, a Bay Area support group for undocumented Asian youth.
About the DREAM Act:
A number of different versions of the DREAM Act have been introduced over the past several years. Under the current proposal, upwards of 800,000 young undocumented immigrants could be eligible for conditional relief, and eventual permanent legal status if they meet certain critieria, including:
  • entered the U.S. before the age of 16
  • have lived continuously in the U.S. for the last 5 years
  • have completed high school (graduation/GED) or have been accepted into college
  • Are between 12 and 35 years old at time of application
  • Meet a "good moral character" standard

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