Rep. Meek (D-FL) DREAM Act Letter to Sen. Lemieux (R-FL)
Pressure Mounts on LeMieux to Support DREAM ActBelow I will quickly type out the letter (please excuse and typos) and I will also upload it (pdf):
Immigration reform advocates have been honing in on Sen. George LeMieux as a potential ally in their campaign to pass the DREAM Act, and now the Florida Republican is facing added pressure from a lawmaker from his home state.
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) hand-delivered a letter to LeMieux on Thursday urging his support for the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for children in the country illegally if they serve in the military or go to college. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that he plans to attach the measure to the defense authorization bill, which he hopes to bring to the floor next week.Jennifer Bendery - Roll Call (16 September 2010)
Senator George LeMieux
United States Senate
356 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator LeMieux,
As you know, this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intention to amend an important piece of immigration reform to the defense authorization legislation, H.R. 5136. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or DREAM Act is a well crafted piece of legislation that aims to eliminate the economic and social glass ceilings that face many immigrant children. When this legislation comes before the Senate, I strongly urge you to vote in favor of including the DREAM Act and to provide an opportunity to those who come to the United States in search of the American dream.
The DREAM Act is a narrowly tailored legislative remedy for a specific population: undocumented students who were brought to the United States as minors, and have attended and completed elementary and secondary education in the US. The Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that these students are not to be held liable for their immigration status and therefor are entitled to public elementary and secondary education.
However, current law does not provide clear paths to citizenship or higher education for these students following high school graduation. The DREAM Act would provide that direction, and would return to the sates the right to determine whether qualified undocumented students would be eligible for in-state tuition. The DREAM Act does not require states to provide any benefits to undocumented students, nor does it make these students eligible for federal financial aid.
It is important to note that the State of Florida stands much to gain from the passage of this legislation. By alowing certain youths an opportunity at a solid education and a pathway to citizenship, we can stop the current cycle of immigrant poverty and break the social caste systems that discourage economic and personal growth. Passage of the legislation will also help reduce high school dropout rates, boost college attendance and increas the poll of nurses, teachers, highly qualified recruits for the U.S. armed forces, and other high-need areas of our workforce.
Further, Florida has had a standing tradition of bi-partisan support for immigration reform with Senators Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez helping lead the way with their sponsorship of the DREAM Act. On the House side the legislation enjoys bi-partisan support with eight Florida members currently signed on as co-sponsors.
Comprehensive immigration reform is absolutely necessary to preparing America to meet new 21st century challenges and passing the Dream [sic] act is the first step. With recent polls showing popular support for the legislation and a wide range of leaders from the education, military, and business fields supporting the legislation, you have a leadership opportunity that will resonate largely with the Florida and nationwide immigrant community.
I hope that you will be able to see past the negative rhetoric and will stand up for improving our immigration so that the American dream is attainable to all who dare to seek it.
Kendrick B. Meek
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Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) is starting to feel the heat of pro-migrant voters, specifically Latino voters. Tonight, Univision will air a debate in which current Florida governor and U.S. Senate nominee Charlie Crist will come out in support of the... Read More