Monday, November 28, 2005

DREAM Act Introduced! You can help

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Great news! On Friday, November 18th, a bipartisan group of Senators officially introduced S. 2075, the DREAM Act of 2005, giving new life to legislation that has been in a holding pattern since the beginning of the year.

The sponsors of the DREAM Act of 2005 are Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN).

The other original cosponsors are Norm Coleman (R-MN), Larry Craig (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), and Barack Obama (D-IL).

It will become law if passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President before the end of 2006.

These Senators will now be targeted for their courage by the anti-immigrant lobby and their vocal supporters. It is essential to balance the abuse with expressions of appreciation from those who care about the great young people who the DREAM Act will help.

Please act now to thank the DREAM Act sponsors.

Clicking here will allow you to send a message of thanks to Senators Hagel and Durbin. The message will also go to your own cosponsoring Senator(s) if you live in one of their states. If the above link did not come through, you can cut and paste this address: blank.dwt

Important: Please forward this message to anyone you know in any of the states the cosponsoring Senators represent to make sure they hear from their constituents.

If enacted, the DREAM Act would transform the lives of persons who were brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented children and who have stayed in school and out of trouble since their arrival. Currently these individuals have no pathway to legalize their immigration status and get on with their lives. The DREAM Act would correct this flaw by providing that upon high school graduation, these individuals-who have grown up in the United States-would be able to apply for six years of "conditional" legal immigration status which would be made permanent if they continue on to college or to serve in the military.

Among those helped would be Marie Gonzalez who grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri. A Latina Magazine Mujer of the year, she became a symbol for others like her when she was able to stave off deportation earlier this year with the help of thousands of supporters. Now she is quietly attending college, but her reprieve only lasts until July of 2006, at which time she could again face deportation if the DREAM Act is not enacted.

The features of the DREAM Act of 2005 are nearly identical to the version that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last year by a 16-3 vote. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), formerly the Chair of that Committee, was then the sponsor of the DREAM Act. He has assured constituents that his failure to introduce it again this year does not mean that he is any less supportive than he was in the past.

Introduction of the DREAM Act comes at a time when the broader immigration debate is becoming more and more politicized and contentious. DREAM Act supporters argue that it deserves to considered on its own merits, regardless of one's position on other immigration issues. It will have a far bigger impact on education, fairness to children, and American competitiveness than on immigration to this country.

Supporters argue that young people facing high school graduation and major decisions about college or work should not be asked to wait until Congress resolves all of the other vexing immigration issues. Rather, Congress should act now and take these young people off of the field of battle of the immigration wars.

Additional information about the DREAM Act is available here (