THE DREAM ACT IS CLOSER THAN EVER TO BECOMING LAW -- NOW IS THE TIME TO GET INVOLVED!!
On September 14th, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) announced that the DREAM Act will be raised for a vote as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, stating:
"We are also offering an amendment to pass the DREAM Act. This amendment will ensure that millions of children who grow up as Americans will be able to get the education they need to contribute to our economy. Students who come to America before age 16 and who have been here for five years should be able get their green card after they go to college or serve in the military. And many who have volunteered to defend our country can finally become citizens of it." (see statement)
On September 15th, President Barack Obama confirmed his support for the bill, stating:
"There's no reason why it shouldn't receive that same kind of bipartisan support today. I've been a supporter since I was in the Senate, and I will do whatever it takes to support the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' efforts to pass this bill so that I can sign it into law on behalf of students seeking a college education and those who wish to serve in our country's uniform. It's the right thing to do. We should get it done." (see statement)
On September 21st, the Senate fell short of getting the 60 votes required to end debate and move forward in considering the military spending bill that would've also included the DREAM Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) as amendments.
But on December 8th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act by 216 to 198. Now, if the Senate gets 60 Yes votes, the bill goes to President Obama's desk to get signed into law!
WHAT DOES THE DREAM ACT DO?
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.729) provides immigrant youth an opportunity to go to college or serve in the military and provides them with a path to legal conditional permanent resident status.
The bill would apply to people who:
(1) entered the U.S. before his/her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding enactment of this Act;
(2) are of good moral character;
(3) are not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act;
(4) at the time of application, have been admitted to an institution of higher education or earned a high school or equivalent diploma;
(5) from the age of 16 and older, have never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal; and
(6) were under age 35 on the date of this Act's enactment.
HOW CAN WE MAKE THE DREAM ACT A REALITY?
1) WRITE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
In order for the legislative language to be approved, it needs the support of 60 Senators. At least 7 Republican Senators still serving in the Senate have supported in the DREAM Act in the past -- it's important to remind them and other elected officials that this bill needs to be passed and is an important step towards reforming our immigration system.
Share your thoughts on the importance of passing the DREAM Act with your Senators and the key Senators listed on this form. Just enter your name and address on this page, edit the template letter if you like, and your letter will get sent straight to them.
2) CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS BY PHONE/SOCIAL MEDIA
- You may phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask the switchboard operator to connect you directly with the congressional office you request.
- You can also sign up for a cool Voto Latino/Reform Immigration for America online tool at http://reformimmigrationforamerica.org/blog/click-to-call-for-the-dream-act.
- Many activists are also sharing their views with elected officials on their Facebook, Twitter and social media pages.
Lots of groups have helpful online tools to help you get involved in supporting the DREAM Act. Here are just a few helpful links:
- Organizing for America petition http://my.barackobama.com/DreamAct
- America's Voice Dream Act Central http://americasvoiceonline.org/index.php/dream (en español http://americasvoiceespanol.com/blog/archive/recursos_de_americas_voice_en_espanol_sobre_el_dream_act/)
- United We Dream/ Dream Activitist Network http://www.dreamactivist.org/
- Hispanic National Bar Association petition http://www.hnba.com/dream-act-petition/
- Immigration Policy Center Myth-Busting Facts http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/dispelling-dream-act-myths
- National Immigration Forum Dream Act Resources http://www.immigrationforum.org/policy/legislation/the-dream-act-in-the-111th-congress
- Presente http://act.presente.org/call/dream_calls/
- Reform Immigration for America http://reformimmigrationforamerica.org/blog/make-dream-a-reality/
- Senator Dick Durbin (IL) Dream Act Legislative Web Page & Resources http://durbin.senate.gov/issues/leg_dreamAct.cfm
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Without immediate action, thousands stand to be barred from an advanced education. Many immigrant students have proved worthy both in academic and social responsibilities throughout their time in American schools. The Act will also strengthen our national security by enabling thousands of high school students to become eligible to join our country’s armed forces. Furthermore, passage of the DREAM Act will help expand the economic and social wealth of our nation.
We look to you, our congressional leaders and the voice of this nation in Washington, D.C., to support and pass this vital legislation. Through your vote, you will allow the DREAM of higher education to become a reality for more of this nation's well deserving students.