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In Spirit of Bipartisanship, DREAM Act reintroduced in Congress

March 27th, 2009 · 27 Comments

Yesterday, the DREAM Act was reintroduced in both the Senate and the House. In the spirit of bipartisanship and showing a commitment to youth seeking to advance themselves here in the US, Senators Lugar (R-IN) and Durbin (D-IL) introduced the bill in the upper house, while Reps. Berman (D-CA) and L. Diaz Balart (R-FL) introduced the house version.

As Seneca has mentioned before, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) would assist young, undocumented immigrants in earning legal status by completing a college education or military service. The legal status won’t be awarded for nothing, these youth will have to earn that opportunity. It is reported that the Senate version is outlining the following eligibility requirements:

“To be eligible, a child must have been under the age of 16 when they entered the country and be physically present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding the date of this measure becoming law; have earned a high school diploma or GED; be a person of good moral character; and not be inadmissible or deportable under criminal or security grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

With some 78 million baby boomers expected to retire in the next few decades, it is worth investing in these undocumented youth who have demonstrated the tenacity to complete college or military training, so that they can be prepared to contribute fully to our economy. I know that some have concerns about the military service portion of this bill since so many poor and youth of color are targeted for the armed services as is, but I think that including this provision is the only way we are going to get this bill passed. How can anyone not support wanting to educate and train bodies who are willing and able?

There are some key steps you can take to make sure that the DREAM isn’t deferred yet again. Kyle at Citizen Orange has given us five ways to make the DREAM a reality:

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.

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Tags: community organizing and activism · Education · Immigration · Rep. Lincoln Diaz Balart

27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kyledeb // Mar 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for the link and for supporting unauthorized migrant youth! Keep up the good work.

  • 2 DelToro // Mar 28, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Just another example of giving privilege to people ahead of taking care of our American citizen children.

  • 3 webmaster // Mar 28, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    DelToro, how is the DREAM Act giving privilege ahead of taking care of American citizen children? American citizen children already have the rights that DREAM Act kids do not. These youth want to become American citizens, and some of them are more motivated than American citizen children, as indicated by their desire to go to college and serve in the military. In 2006, approximately 61% of H S graduates in America went to college directly from high school:

    http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php?measure=32

    What did the rest of those children do?

    Why do you want to deny kids who are highly motivated an opportunity to live the American dream? And what is the benefit of denying this select group of youth an education? The US already imports a lot of highly technical professionals on H1B visas. Why not train the people who are motivated here and have them become fully contributing members to our society?

  • 4 WhatThe.. // Mar 28, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I believc the tax money that would be allocated to this Dream Act program would be better suited to the educational concerns of American children. This Dream Act program is for illegal immigrants? If you are illegally in the country, you are already in violation of immigration law. The law is very clear on this. You cannot take someone who is in back of the line, and put them in front. It is an unfair situation and a slap in the face of tax paying Americans. In case some weren’t aware, we do have a streamline and fair process to enter the country legally, its called the naturalization process. If you are here in this country living, that should be no problem. The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

    -a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
    -residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
    -an ability to read, write, and speak English;
    -a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
    -good moral character;
    -attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution
    -favorable disposition toward the United States.
    The web site is as follows: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=ce2b2cd1f7e9e010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=96719c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

  • 5 DelToro // Mar 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Their you go Webmaster Whatthe did the work for me. Your answer on a plate. Why should you get in state tuition as an illegal alien when out of state kids do not?

  • 6 DelToro // Mar 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I can tell you this. I truly believe with the people of the US being very compassionate individuals that help for these kids would come much faster and with more kindness if all the other illegal alien give-aways were not trying to be rammed down everyone’s throat. But keep trying and see what happens when you continue to p*ss of law abiding citizens.

  • 7 Reyfeo // Mar 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I agree with DT and what the on both this.

    Webmaster, its you’re thinking which has put states like California in the red so much, the whole state will have to file for chapter 11 (as if they could)…you crack me up! lol

  • 8 Anna // Mar 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Re: “Why should you get in state tuition as an illegal alien when out of state kids do not?”

    Because the parents of illegal immigrants pay in state taxes. There is something seriously wrong with having illegal immigrants do all of the agricultural work, which makes billions of dollars for the state of CA, and then deny the qualified children of those workers a chance to get a college education.

    Anyway, the majority of the illegal immigrants who would qualify for college under the Dream Act aren’t even Latino. They are Asian.

  • 9 WhatThe.. // Mar 30, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Regardless if they pay in state taxes, they are still illegal, undocumented, and in the violation of the law. How does an illegal alien pay in state taxes? Using a fals I.D., this is a felony. Following the law is still the best streamline way to citizenship. The naturalization process is what it is. You must go through it , their is no free lunch. A person who really wants to be an American citizen for all the right reasons will follow the law of the land.

  • 10 DelToro // Mar 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Because the parents of illegal immigrants pay in state taxes. There is something seriously wrong with having illegal immigrants do all of the agricultural work, which makes billions of dollars for the state of CA, and then deny the qualified children of those workers a chance to get a college education-Anna.

    And when do we get a cut of that money heading south in the billions every year?

    Anyway, the majority of the illegal immigrants who would qualify for college under the Dream Act aren’t even Latino. They are Asian.-Anna.

    Where did you get that info?

  • 11 Fernando A // Mar 31, 2009 at 12:37 am

    All I have to say about the dream act is that anyone who is against it is biased and has not done all their research… or if they have they have simply found other peoples research and came up with an opinion based on that info… I have a friend. His parents brought him to the U.S when he was 3yrs old… his parents were in fact here illegally but are now in progress for residency but he is left out due to immigration laws… he has gone to school here all his life.. Received his B.A can’t work due to politics can’t drive, can’t vote. This guy is more American than youngsters who are born in the U.S he has goals, he has worked doing job no one likes and has paid taxes, he has never been to Mexico his country of origin. Now everyone against it says the same thing… it’s a slap on the face for law-abiding citizens, they need to get in line… blah blah… yes they have a commented a crime most not by choice, and for the one that have by choice rather than by the choice of their parents I ask you this… can they not be forgiven if that is they only unlawful act they have committed… If people against the dream act where in my friends situation they would not be singing the same tune, I’ll tell you that much… another argument they bring up is that the money can be used on other things… for one the dream act will help individuals who will bring contributions to their country the U.S… they are no bums. Dream act is great and should be passed… people opposing it are wasting more tax money and time, when they can be involved against issues that really need opinions and involvement; come one guys get it togheter.. gosh…

  • 12 india blanca // Mar 31, 2009 at 9:06 am

    …many if not most, undocumented immigrants pay taxes, not only state tax but sales taxes on every purchase they make…our local governments make millions of dollars from the taxes they pay…moreover, many undocumented aliens pay federal income tax through a tool the IRS has implemented for those who don’t have a social security number…they simply apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and file IRS form W-7 and pay their taxes…so your argument about money is null and void…but more importantly, this is truly not an issue of whether or not the parents of these youngsters are paying their taxes it is a much more important issue…many of these youngsters are brilliant human beings who have a lot to give to our country and the world…to curtail their contribution is a worse crime than to cross a border without authorizing visas…a mind is a tragic thing to waste…these young people have a right to develop their talents.. and we as a group of civilized people should not only understand that concept but also realize that we are hindering our development by taking away the opportunity from these young people…who knows what scientific discovery or technologic innovation we will do without because these young people were not afforded the possibility of higher education….it speaks very poorly of us to draw a line in the sand when it comes to educating minds…most of these youngsters have been here a better part of their lives and are not going to leave simply because they cannot go to college…we all know that….so, could it be that we simply prefer to keep them at a certain educational level because it suits us to have more laborers, more service oriented personnel?….there is nothing undignified with any type of honest work but it is a totally undignified stance to hold back human development.

  • 13 jammer // Mar 31, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I have taught a number of AB540 students at the University, and they are excellent candidates to become productive Americans. What a shame if we allow bigots, and uninformed idiots(ie, Del Toro, What the)to influence the dialogue. What garbage and drivel. They really should research the topic before they shoot themselves with all their stupidity. They would be no match for any of the AB540 students that they vilify.

  • 14 india blanca // Mar 31, 2009 at 10:12 am

    …glad to have you on board, Jammer we need voices like yours…there is nothing wrong with opposite points of view that illuminate the discussion but we must elevate our discourse in order to truly improve our future.

  • 15 WhatThe.. // Mar 31, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    The sole purpose of the IRS is to collect taxes, they are not the law or do they enforce immigration law. The IRS uses ITINs to process tax payments owed by people who are not eligible for a Social Security Number. It is issued regardless of immigration status to people living both inside and outside the country. Though the tax law applicable to aliens, defines ‘residency’ for tax law purposes differently from how it is defined in immigration law. Under the IRS code, even undocumented aliens (illegal aliens) are treated as resident aliens. IRS states explicitly that ITINs are not to be used for any purpose other than tax administration. The problem, in order to benefit from taxes you have to be an American Citizen. Also, Form W-7 can only be filed if one has a SSN. Illegal aliens have been warned by advocates not to use the ITIN when applying for employment, as it would expose their illegal status. All publications from both the IRS and the SSA say that an individual can have either an ITIN or an SSN, but not both. But since employees suffer no penalty for using fraudulent SSNs, they continue to do so. Similarly, since employers benefiting from cheap labor also suffer no penalty, they continue to hire illegal aliens without checking the validity of their SSNs. Once someone is hired, employers begin to withhold taxes. The solution is that individuals of undocumented status must apply and go through the naturalization process. I do believe that these AB540 students will productive individuals and will be of benefit to our country that’s why its important that they get on course and apply for citizenship. Trying to pass the Dream Act is waisting to much money, especially when a solution is evident. In addition, is the Dream Act supported primarily by NCLR? Does NCLR help others of different nationalities? I believe in open dialogue or discussions give a greater ability to see both sides of the story and understand the facts, as opposed to being afraid of others influencing the blog. Let’s see, A bigot is a person who is intolerant of or takes offence to the opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own. Just because someone has a difference of opinion doesn’t mean they are bigot. Using the race card by some of you is just to easy; your winning argument is to be intolerant of the facts and thats just not good enough. You can do better, stay focused on the facts, give solutions, and prove me wrong.

  • 16 Legal citizen // Apr 3, 2009 at 7:15 am

    How about this compromise: Let the kids who complete college or military duty stay, but give the ones who don’t until, say, 25 to finish or get out.

    Once I see support from the Latino community to get rid of the illegals who are in prison, who are drug dealers, who are in criminal gangs, whose presence here hurts American, then, and only then, will I believe that you want what’s best for America. Until then, all illegals should be treated as illegal.

  • 17 Qbariqua // Apr 3, 2009 at 7:48 am

    WhatThe: Without the DREAM Act these kids cannot go through the naturalization process. A prerequisite to filing for citizenship is the aqcuisition of permanent resident status. The traditional pathways to obtaining legalization are either through the sponsorship of a permanent resident or U.S. citizen family member or an employer. The process can take upwards of 10 to 15 years due to the unavailabilty of visa numbers (also known as “visa retrogression”).

    Unfortunately, these children cannot avail themselves of any of the pathways currently in existence. In addition, since they were brought here without inspection and their families have stayed here for so many years they are inadmissable and subject to the 10-year bar. This is why the DREAM act is so important. It will provide a merit-based pathway for these kids to obtain conditional residence and prove themselves worthy of permanent residence status within 6 years. After they aqcuire PR status they will be able to utilize the naturalization process you speak of.

    I think it is also important to note that this legislation cannot be categorized as an amnesty. Amnesty is defined as a pardon of an offense. The laws clearly establish that minors do not have the capacity or mens rea to commit offenses. As such, these children are not guilty of violating any laws; their parents are.

    These kids grew up here. They identify this nation as their home. Some of them are not even fluent in their parent’s native language. They may understand or even speak it at a basic level, but since they were educated here they progressed in English to a much higher level than they ever did in their parent’s native tongue.

    Our immigration system is outdated and broken. Its time to fix it. The DREAM Act would be a step in the right direction.

  • 18 al // Apr 23, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    i support Dream act

  • 19 al // Apr 23, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    those who oppose dream act i would just like to say that put yourselves in thier shoes. not everyone is terrorist and drug dealer and criminal. Most of the criminals are natural born citizens anyway. those that take being american citizen granted.
    as for history this is land of no one and everyone, thats why they call it land of immigrants.

  • 20 al // Apr 23, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    if we go back all the way to our countrys origins we are all illegals. you think the europeans came with passports and visas when they took over this land. let see, no, they came with army and guns………at least these modern illegals are nothing like the old ones….

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  • 22 Latinos & the MA Senate Election // Jan 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

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