We Have a Dream

Each year approximately 2.8 million students graduate from US High Schools. Some will go on to college, join the military, or take other paths in life, hopefully all becoming productive members of society. But for approximately 65,000 of them, these opportunities will never be available. Not because they lack motivation, or achievement, but because of the undocumented status passed on to them by their parents.

Lacking legal status and social security numbers, these students, raised and schooled in the US, cannot apply to college, get jobs other than those at the bottom of the economic ladder, or otherwise follow their dreams. They grew up on American soil, worked hard and succeeded in spite of all odds, and want nothing more than to be recognized as individuals and not just the holders of a status they had no part in acquiring.

In Washington, politicians have debated the fate of these kids for more than seven years, holding lives and futures in their hands while vying for political advantage. But lost in the debate are the voices of the children – voices that should be heard. 

Their words are so much more compelling than anything I could write so here are the voices and stories of those children – the voices of those most effected by the right-wing’s continuing efforts to stall of the passage of DREAM Act:

The bill, first introduced in 2001 (S.1291), would give undocumented kids, who were brought here as children and have been raised and educated in the US, the tools they need to fulfill the American dream. It would allow them to further their educations, gain meaningful and productive employment, and through their hard work and commitment, eventually earn the right to become full members society, free of the undocumented status passed on to them by their parents.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, has promised that in the next few weeks the bill will once again be taken up for consideration. Please contact your Senators today and let them know that the children have waited long enough, worked hard enough, and followed the rules long enough …they’ve earned the opportunity to now follow their dreams. 

Learn more about the DREAM ACT

Contact your Senators and tell them to give these children the opportunity they deserve by supporting the Dream Act


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    • duke1676 on October 2, 2007 at 04:24

    I could write 2500 words explaining the bill and urging you to call your Senator …but the kids are far more informative, eloquent and compelling than anything I could ever write. 

    • Alma on October 2, 2007 at 04:30

    That suggests that they see them as some kind of person.  They seem to see them at best as collateral damage.  Im going to contact Levin and Stabenow now email.  I have surgery tomorrow, so I won’t be able to call.

    I love your writing style Duke.  Its easy to follow.

  1. letters are going out this week anyway…ill add a couple of paragraphs…

  2. Perhaps this can go to the FP if a slot is open?

  3. I don’t give it a snowball’s chance in hell of getting through the Senate. Durbin tried last week, and got nowhere.

  4. … why the RW immigration fandango isn’t being covered the same as the DOJ scandal.

    Why, for example, isn’t Josh at TPM as interested in this as he was over Gonzalez and Goodling?  It’s the same story — exactly the same — politicization of a very important issue, incompetence and cronyism in staffing federal agencies who deal with that issue, Halliburton building domestic gulags, (and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if Blackwater or some company like them, are involved in “security” as well in the detention centers).

    It’s a scandal just the same as the DOJ – and the ICE has been staffed by the DOJ if I recall correctly.

    And the Dream Act is being held hostage.  Damn.  I think I’m going to email Josh about this.

    The video is wonderful, Duke.  Those kids would be an asset to any country in the world.  We should be glad they want to be here.

    • Alma on October 3, 2007 at 12:39

    Thank you for contacting me about the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this subject.

    I believe U.S. immigration policy should establish clear procedures for determining who can enter this country legally, as well as for apprehending those who enter the United States illegally. These policies should also reflect that we are a nation of immigrants, enriched by the diversity of its people.

    According to the Urban Institute, in 2000, there were an estimated 607,000 undocumented aliens between the ages of 12 and 20 enrolled in grades 7-12, and approximately 126,000 undocumented aliens under the age of 21 enrolled in college. Many of these undocumented minors were brought into the U.S. by their parents and did not participate in the decision to come here and may not even know that they entered the U.S. illegally. Under current law, undocumented aliens are not eligible for federal student aid and in-state tuition benefits.

    Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.774) on March 6, 2007. This bill would permit certain undocumented immigrant students to adjust their status to conditional permanent resident if they entered the country before their sixteenth birthday and have been admitted to an institution of higher education. In order to be considered, eligible applicants would have to prove that they have good moral character and have not been determined to be inadmissible or deportable for criminal reasons. The conditional status would last for six years at which time the individual would need to apply for permanent status. In order to qualify for permanent status, the student would need to either have a bachelor’s degree, have finished at least two years of higher education or have completed two years in the U.S. armed forces. I have cosponsored similar legislation in the past.

    In addition, the DREAM Act would allow states to determine if an undocumented student is eligible for higher education benefits. Students who enroll in institutions of higher education would be required to be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System and would be eligible for certain school loans and federal work-study programs. S.774 has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where it awaits further consideration. I will keep your views in mind should S.774 come before the full Senate.

    Thank you again for writing.

    Carl Levin

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