The time that so many have been walking for, sitting in for, starving for, getting arrested for is approaching. Earlier this week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada stated at a press briefing that the DREAM Act would be added onto the Defense Authorization bill as an amendment. Said bill is up for a vote next Tuesday, September 21st. In short, the DREAM Act has a shot at actually moving next week after being idle in Congress since 2007 and being introduce a decade ago. The DREAM Act would provide certain undocumented students with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status if they came to the United States as children, have good moral character, finish high school or obtain a G.E.D., and complete two years of college or military service.
While the DREAM Act alone isn’t comprehensive immigration reform, it is a step towards CIR and it is the only thing that has traction at the present time (though Sen. Menendez will introduce a CIR bill later this year). There is a lot of energy around the DREAM Act, particularly from youth and their allies who will no longer be silenced by fear. The broken immigration and education systems have been mutilating the dreams of millions of students across the country for years. Some students have become so despondent that they’ve even taken their own life. I’ve met many students who have openly admitted to me their own struggles with thoughts of suicide due to their legal status. We are at a critical moment when we can offer relief to the undocumented youth who came to this country through no fault of their own and who have done everything that has been asked of them as students and members of our communities.
I’m reminded of all of the courageous Dreamers that I have had the honor of knowing over these last 10 years. In my mind I see the faces of Carla, a young woman whom I’ve seen transform from a quiet, sports loving enthusiast to an active, committed organizer putting into practice her excellent leadership qualities learned on and off the soccer field. She dreams of being a doctor. I think of Mariano who made the difficult decision of returning to Mexico even though it meant being separated from his family who remain in North Carolina. I see the faces of Manuel, Carolina, Sem, Talina, Rosario, Viri, Loida, Felipe, Carlos, Gaby and so many others. Too many. All of these youth are ours and we must do right by them by supporting the DREAM Act and urging our Senators to support this legislation!
Providing these students an opportunity to live up to their potential reflects the values upon which our nation was founded. To continue to waste their talents is wrong. The DREAM Act is not amnesty as some elected officials have erroneously stated, since students would have to earn legalization. As the DREAM Act finally is dusted off by being added as an amendment to another bill next week, we will need the support of Senator Kay Hagan (for those of us in NC) who has been reluctant to support DREAM to date, instead opting to wait until Comprehensive Immigration Reform comes along.
We need the help of allies and supporters like you now more than ever! The choice for you is clear. Will you take 2 minutes to call your Senator every day to urge him/her to support the DREAM Act? Or will you sit back and do nothing and allow your silence to be permission for continued inaction and broken dreams? The DREAMs of 2.1 million youth rests in our ability to make more calls than our opposition and expressing loud and clear that we are serious when we say that DREAM can’t wait 10 more years!
Call now: 1888-254-5087 or 1-866-996-5161. Don’t get discouraged by busy signals–just keep trying until you get in. Once you call, encourage your friends to do the same and repeat every day.