DREAM Act Provides a Brighter Future for Hundreds of Thousands of Children
Washington D.C. – Today, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-WV), and Robert Menendes(D-NJ) along with Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The bill would provide undocumented students who have grown up in the United States with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status by meeting certain requirements, including completing two years of college or military service.
Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to see Senators Durbin, Reid, and Menendez and Representatives Berman and Ros-Lehtinen demonstrating their steadfast support of children and youth by introducing the DREAM Act.. In doing so, they are heeding the advice of military, business, religious, and education leaders as well as listening to the majority of the American people who agree that this bill is the right thing to do for our children and our country. The young people who would benefit from the DREAM Act have grown up here, been educated in our schools, and deserve the opportunity to give back to the country they call home.
“Passage of the DREAM Act would mean that Eric Balderas, a Harvard biology major who came to the U.S. when he was just 4 years old, can pursue his dream of one day finding a cure for cancer. Passage of the DREAM Act would mean that Laura Lopez, a college graduate who was brought to the U.S. when she was just 1 year old, can achieve her dream of attending law school. Nobody benefits from denying incredibly smart young people like Eric Balderas or Laura Lopez a pathway to citizenship in the United States. They have much to offer our country and it is a waste of human talent and skill to deny these young people the ability to give back to the only country they know and love. Finally, passage of the DREAM Act would mean that hundreds of thousands of children enrolled in our elementary and secondary schools can one day realize their dreams of becoming the future doctors, teachers, and engineers our nation so greatly needs.
“We applaud Senators Durbin, Reid, and Menendez along with Representatives Berman and Ros-Lehtinen and the Administration for continuing to champion this critical piece of legislation. In his 2012 State of the Union Address, the President stated that it ‘makes no sense’ to deport children who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. We are deeply concerned that so many young people continue to be arrested, jailed and sometimes deported, and we strongly urge the Administration to provide relief to these youth so that they no longer have to live in fear.
“We look forward to working with Congress, the Administration, national and state partners, and the young leaders of the DREAM movement to pass this important legislation. And until that day comes, we will also continue pushing for immediate solutions to protect these young people from further harm, and hold our nation’s leaders accountable for doing right by our children.”