Good news! The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is being re-introduced in both the House and the Senate. Now is a great time to raise your voice on behalf of immigrant students!
Who would the DREAM Act benefit? Each year about 65,000 U.S.-raised students, who would qualify for a status-adjustment under the DREAM Act, graduate from high school with zero prospects for the future. Even though they were brought to the U.S. years ago as children, they face unique barriers to higher education, are unable to work legally in the U.S., and often live in constant fear of arrest and deportation by immigration authorities.
These include kids down the street or across town – but they’re also church youth group kids, young people standing up for their faith and becoming members of local congregations, and our future pastors, youth group leaders, and community development workers. They are young people who have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives and want to give back to the country and community they consider their own.
Our immigration law currently has no mechanism to consider the special circumstances of such students, but the DREAM Act would eliminate this flaw. Therefore, it is a vital part of real, comprehensive immigration reform.
What is the DREAM Act? The DREAM Act would restore states’ rights to determine residency requirements for in-state tuition and establish a path to legal status and eventual citizenship for undocumented youth who are being punished for a decision they didn’t make. The measure would grant conditional legal status to youth who successfully complete high school or equivalent. They then would have six years to graduate from college or a trade school or join the military. If successful in one of those areas, the conditional legal status would become permanent and they could then move towards U.S. citizenship.
What can you do?
· Call your members of Congress! Urge your Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the DREAM Act. You can find a phone number for your members of Congress here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt. Tell them that your faith moves you to support the DREAM Act!
· Spread the word! So many members of our churches still aren’t on board with Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Teaching others about the DREAM Act is a great way to get the conversation going! Contact Kate (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out what resources are available to get others on board with reforming our broken system.