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Friday, November 25, 2005

Dream Act

This is an important piece of legislation. We're worked with some young leaders over the year where this is an important issue. Whateve your political view - let's not let the children of the undocumented suffer for the choices of their parents...

DREAM Act Introduced!

Take Action!

Thank key senators for their support and urge your senator to cosponsor!

On Friday, November 18th, a bipartisan group of Senators officially introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2005, S. 2075, giving new life to legislation that has been in a holding pattern since the beginning of the year.   The features of the DREAM Act of 2005 are nearly identical to the version that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last Congress by a 16-3 vote.

The sponsors of the DREAM Act of 2005 are Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN).

The other original cosponsors are Norm Coleman (R-MN), Larry Craig (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), and Barack Obama (D-IL).

It will become law if passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President before the end of 2006.

Please act now to thank the DREAM Act sponsors and co-sponsors, and urge your senator to cosponsor the bill.

If enacted, the DREAM Act, S. 2075, would transform the lives of persons who were brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented children and who have stayed in school and out of trouble since their arrival.  Currently these individuals have no pathway to legalize their immigration status and get on with their lives.  The DREAM Act would correct this flaw.  Upon high school graduation, these individuals — who have grown up in the United States — would be able to apply for six years of conditional legal immigration status, which would be made permanent if they continue on to college or to serve in the military. 

Those helped would include Marie Gonzalez who grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri.  A Latina Magazine Mujer of the Year, she became a symbol for thousands of others in similar situations, last year, when she was able to stave off deportation with the help of thousands of supporters.  Now she is quietly attending college, but has only been given a reprieve until July of 2006 and could again face deportation if the DREAM Act is not enacted.

Introduction of the DREAM Act comes at a time when Congress will also address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Despite the outcome of that debate, the DREAM Act must be addressed on its own merits because it will have a positive impact on education, fairness to children, and American competitiveness.

Young people facing high school graduation and major decisions about college or work should not be asked to wait until Congress resolves all of the other vexing immigration issues.  Rather, Congress should act now and take these young people off of the field of battle of the immigration wars.

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