DREAM Act: Waking up to Immigration

Each year, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from our nation’s high
schools. Brought by their parents as young children, many have grown up
in the United States, attended U.S. K-12 schools, and share in our
American culture and values. Some have little memory of their homeland
or their native language. Like their U.S.-born peers, these individuals
share the same dream of pursuing a higher education. Unfortunately, due
to their immigration status, they are typically barred from many of the
opportunities that currently make a college education affordable –
in-state tuition rates, state and federal grants and loans, private
scholarships, and the ability to work legally to earn their way through
college. In effect, through no act of their own, they are denied the
opportunity to share in the "American Dream." If passed, the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien
Minors (DREAM) Act,” S. 2075, a bipartisan federal proposal led by
Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Richard Lugar
(R-IN), would facilitate access to postsecondary educational
opportunities for immigrant students in the United States who currently
face barriers in pursuing a college education. The “DREAM Act” would
also allow hardworking immigrant youth who have long resided in the
U.S. the chance to adjust their status, enabling them to contribute
fully to our society.

The “DREAM Act” was introduced in the U.S. Senate in November
2005. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) is the sponsor of the bill, and the
lead Republican cosponsors are Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard
Lugar (R-IN). The Senate Judiciary Committee must now consider and
approve the “DREAM Act” before the bill can be considered for a vote by
the full Senate. Similar versions of this bill garnered significant
support from both Democrats and Republicans last Congress when it was
approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 16-3 bipartisan vote.
In addition, last year, 48 senators and 153 representatives signed on
in support of the “DREAM Act” and its companion bill in the U.S. House
of Representatives. The House version of the “DREAM Act”, which has
been championed by Representatives Chris Cannon (R-UT), Howard Berman
(D-CA), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), currently awaits
reintroduction.

NCLR Position


The National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

urges passage of the “DREAM Act,” S. 2075. The “DREAM Act,” which
provides a path to U.S. citizenship for hardworking and talented
immigrant students who have been raised in the U.S., is critical to
improving the pipeline from high school to college and providing
meaningful employment for Latinos.

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