Friday, September 25, 2020

Reintroduction of the DREAM Act and American Dream Act Applauded by Senate Leadership, Civil Rights Groups

Earlier today Congress took an important step toward immigration reform. When both the US Senate and House reintroduced bipartisan legislation aimed at giving immigrant students raised in the U.S. the opportunity for a path to citizenship via college education or serving in the Armed Forces. Senators Richard Durbin and Richard Lugar reintroduced the DREAM Act, while Representatives Howard Berman, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Lincoln Diaz-Balart reintroduced the American Dream Act. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid applauded Durbin and Lugar for “standing up once more for an idea that economically benefits our nation and that is smart and fair.” The Hispanic civil rights organization Nation Council of La Raza (NCLR) also shared in the excitement explaining that these bills will help to move the U.S. toward a more updated immigration system.

Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO, urged both chambers to pass this legislation because “one of the best ways for our nation to recover from the current economic crisis is to have an educated workforce.” Far too often in the U.S. intelligent students are denied the opportunity of a college education because of their immigration status. According to NCLR, every year American high schools grant 65,000 diplomas to immigrant students who have lived in this country since they can remember. Their immigration status prevents these students from receiving financial aid, in-state tuition rates, grants, scholarships and the ability to work legally. This hinders far too many students from being able to make meaningful contributions to the country they call home.

Senator Reid explained “this law would grant these children temporary status while they go to college or serve in the Armed Forces. If they graduate or serve honorably, and stay out of trouble, they would be eligible for a green card and eventually for citizenship.” The legislation would restore states’ rights to determine requirements for in-state tuition and establish a path to a legal status for immigrant youth. Both Majority Leader Reid and Murguía emphasized the need for comprehensive immigration reform and the importance of the DREAM Act and American Dream Act as first steps.

NCLR

Senate Democratic Communications Center