U.S. Senate and U.S. House Announce The Reintroduction of the DREAM Act

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I just received press releases from both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House regarding the reintroduction of the DREAM Act.  See my earlier post for actions you can take in favor of the DREAM Act, as well as links to background posts I've written on the DREAM Act.  Below I will paste the text of the press releases.
From Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) Office:

I applaud Sen. Durbin for standing up once more for an idea that economically benefits our nation and that is smart and fair.

I once met a young woman in Lyon County, Nevada, who was brought to the United States at a very young age and had been here since she could remember. She was the smartest girl in her class and wanted to go to college, but had no options because she had no legal immigration status.  Her potential was probably not realized and our country lost the contribution this smart young woman could have made to our economy and her community.

For many of these young people, America is the only homeland they know. Giving them the opportunity to educate themselves, or to defend our country, is good for them and for our nation. This law would grant these children temporary status while they go to college or serve in the Armed Forces. If they graduate or serve honorably, and stay out of trouble, they would be eligible for a green card and eventually for citizenship.

This bill is one step in fixing our broken immigration system. We need comprehensive reform that is tough, fair and practical. We need to secure our northern and southern borders; we need to ensure that every work has legal authorization to work; and we need to require the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country to come out of the shadows, register with the government and apply for legal status, pay taxes and fines, learn English, and stay out of trouble.

The DREAM Act is a very important first step. I thank Sen. Durbin for his work on this important piece of legislation, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for it in the Senate.
Harry Reid (26 March 2009)

From Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart's (R-FL) office:

Congressmen Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), announced the reintroduction today of the DREAM Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation will restore the States' rights to determine residency requirements for higher education benefits - giving states the option to provide in-state tuition.  The American DREAM Act seeks to facilitate access to postsecondary educational opportunities for immigrant students in the United States who currently face barriers in pursuing a college education.  It also provides a path to U.S. legal residency for students, and military personnel.

"Our students and brave soldiers should not be punished for a decision which was made by their parents, in which they often played no role. The Supreme Court has prohibited states from barring undocumented students from attending primary and secondary schools. Unfortunately, once these students graduate from high school, their educational aspirations are often halted," said Diaz-Balart.

Each year thousands of undocumented children, raised and educated in this country, are unable to pursue a higher education.  Lack of access to federal financial assistance programs, and other immigration status created obstacles, essentially bar many of these aspiring youth from attending college.  As these young people lose educational opportunity, our country loses their potential contributions as active and educated professionals.
I will update this post as more information comes in.

UPDATE I: Now the press releases are really rolling in.  The National Immigration Law Center has been doing some of the best work on the DREAM Act so I'll put up theirs.  They also have the most comprehensive list of DREAM Act co-sponsors:

Today, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) was introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Lieberman (I- CT), Mel Martinez (R-FL), and Harry Reid (D-NV) in the Senate and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Joseph Cao (R-LA), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Devin Nunez (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) in the House of Representatives.  This bipartisan legislation addresses the situation faced by young people who were brought to the United States years ago as undocumented immigrant children, and who have since grown up here but are being denied the ability to fully contribute to society.

The DREAM Act would provide certain undocumented youth conditional legal status and eventual citizenship, if they attend college or join the military. It would also allow immigrant students access to higher education by returning to states the authority to determine who qualifies for in-state tuition.  "This critical piece of legislation makes it possible for many deserving young people to realize their dream of a college education" said Marielena HincapiĆ©, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, "and thereby contribute to the future of this country."

For the first time since it was first introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act enjoys strong backing of House and Senate leadership, all of the relevant committee chairs and President Obama, who was an original sponsor of the legislation when he was in the Senate.

NILC commends the strong leadership shown by Senators Durbin and Lugar and Representatives Berman, Diaz-Balart and Roybal-Allard.  "To be competitive in today's global economy, America depends on an educated and skilled population," said Adey Fisseha, Interim Federal Policy Director of NILC.  "The DREAM Act realizes the benefit of having a more multicultural, multilingual U.S. workforce.  We urge the House and Senate to pass the DREAM Act and President Obama to sign this important bill into law," added Fisseha.
I will continue to update as more information comes in.

UPDATE II: In addition to their press release the National Immigration Law Center has a helpful alert on what to do now that the DREAM Act has been introduced:

 1.  Between today and April 3rd -- Contact your Members of Congress (your Representative and BOTH Senators) and ask them to co-sponsor the DREAM Act.  If they have already cosponsored it is really critical that we thank them for their support.  To call contact your Representatives in the House and Senate please call the switchboard operator at 202-224-3121 or click here  and type in your zip code. A short script is available here.

2.  Members of Congress will be back in their states and districts from April 4-19, 2009.  This is a perfect opportunity to meet with your Representatives and ask them to cosponsor the bill.  If you already have a meeting planned, add cosponsoring DREAM to the agenda, if you have an event planned, invite the Representatives to attend.

I also want to reemphasize the five actions for the DREAM Act that I have suggested people should take:

1. CALL - The National Council of La Raza has a page to help you call your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.

2. FAX - America's Voice has a page to help you fax your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.

3. EMAIL - Change.org has a page to help you email your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.

4. PETITION - Dreamactivist.org has the official petition in support of the DREAM Act.

5. TEXT - Text "Justice" ("Justicia" for Spanish) to 69866 to be the first to know when the DREAM Act is introduced.  FIRM's Mobile Action Network is an excellent way to stay connected and have maximum impact at just the right moment.
Kyle de Beausset - Citizen Orange (26 March 2009)
Feel free to add additional ideas in the comments.

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This is good news. DREAM Act and then CIR! Adelante!

jesus p said:

Great News! Appreciate the information. Let's support the Dream Act 2009

QUOVADIS2009 said:

Thank you Kyle for the good news. Now we really have to mobilize to the nth power! Get the word out!

Lu P. said:

Thank you Kyle for all the support and the articles you have written. I'm so stoked and ready to work on this!

Thanks for your support. I too am ready to work for the passage of this act. It is time.

Lucy said:

Thanks a lot for all your effort in keeping the momentum going for the support of the DREAM Act. So excited about the positive movements being made in that direction. Keep up the good work and let's all mobilize and get this thing going!

anja said:

Thank you Kyle for all the hard work. I know you've poured out your heart into this effort. Now its time for all of us to unite for DREAM and drop all the infighting. This is THE best chance we got to get legislation going. Bring out the stories and faces of DREAM and make it personal for all involved.

Claudia Hernandez said:

I pry to god that the Dream Act passes so alot of hopeful teens can look forward to a brighter future in this country.

Joseph Nigh said:

THis is the best news I have had in years! THANK YOU!

fidel said:

Thank you Kyle for your dedication and commitment and have this DREAM ACT reintroduced in the Congress. This is a big blessing to my 13 yr. old daughter whom she is a straight "A" student and Excellent in Math and Science. I do not want to lose this opportunity for her. Let us help them to achieve their dream. Youth are the Hope of the Nation. Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on March 26, 2009 5:02 PM.

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