Support the DREAM Act
Recipient: U.S. Senate
On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we are writing to urge you to support the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the DREAM Act (S. 2205). The DREAM Act would give high school graduates who were brought to the United States as children an opportunity to pursue higher education or service in the military.
The Act would provide a six-year path to legal status starting after high school graduation for individuals brought to the United States more than five years ago. To qualify for a green card an applicant would have to demonstrate good moral character and within the six-year period either graduate from community college, complete two years toward a four-year degree, or serve at least two years in the U.S. military.
The people who would benefit from the DREAM Act were too young to have had a say in the decision to come to this country. Yet they are all high achievers who have worked hard to stay in school through high school graduation. Having grown up and gone to school here, they are unlikely to leave, despite the fact that current laws discourage their continuing their education and provide no mechanism for them to adjust to legal status.
These beneficiaries include high school valedictorians, honors students, class presidents, and student athletes. With the DREAM Act, Congress has the opportunity to choose between a policy that will keep them here illegally and without access to education as part of an underground economy, or as legal and educated residents able to continue their contributions to the U.S. society, economy, and military.
The DREAM Act-eligible students who graduated from high school in 2001 – when the DREAM Act was first proposed in Congress – are already in their mid-20’s. Another 65,000 DREAM-eligible students will graduate this year. LCCR supports a comprehensive solution to our immigration problems, but that is no reason to trap these accomplished – and blameless – young people in limbo while Congress debates the complicated issues involved in such legislation. The DREAM Act is the too rare case where everyone benefits by a simple and logical policy that promotes education, public service, and civic society for all.
We urge the Senate to vote for cloture and final passage of the DREAM Act to help ensure that these children – children who have all worked hard, graduated from high school, and obeyed the law – have the opportunity to continue their education, serve in the military, and be productive workers in the American economy. Thank you for considering our views. Please contact David Goldberg, program manager and special counsel, at (202) 466-0087, or Nancy Zirkin, at (202) 263-2880, if you would like to discuss the DREAM Act or any other issues.
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