Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tell Congress and Obama to Pass the DREAM Act

Let's not blow another opportunity to do something decent, right, smart, and prudent, and honest. After all, we're all immigrants at some time in our lives, all dependent on the kindness of strangers. Maybe that's one reason that all the sacred scriptures make such a point of requiring everyone to give our best to strangers, travelers, visitors, and guests. At one level, it's about acknowledging our common humanity and interdependence.

Nowhere is that clearer than in education. The DREAM Act offers a clear choice. Either we consciously add the children of undocumented residents to the legions of despairing, uneducated poor, or we give them the means to realize their vast potential. Seems like a no-brainer to me.


Every year, thousands of undocumented American students graduate from college and high school, and face a roadblock to their dreams -- they can't drive, can't work legally, can't get loans or establish credit, can't further their education, and can't contribute to the economy. It is a classic case of lost potential and broken dreams.

The federal DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), is a bipartisan legislation that would permit a select group of undocumented students conditional legal status and eventual citizenship granted that they meet the following requirements:

--if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16, are below the age
of 30,
--have lived here continuously for five years,
--graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a GED
--have good moral character with no criminal record and
--attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years.

Barack Obama has stated that undocumented students brought up in the United States are "American for all intents and purposes." Senator Richard Durbin has implored Congress to "give these kids a chance." Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch has said: “In short, although these children have built their lives here, they have no possibility of achieving and living the American dream. What a tremendous loss for them, and what a tremendous loss to our society.”

Why penalize children for the actions of their parents? Why throw away the talent we have invested in from K-12 right when we can make use of it? Why deport students from the ONLY home they have ever known?

Let's bring these students out of the shadows, out from underground. Tell President-Elect Obama to pass the DREAM Act in 2009. Talented students and their families living in fear of raids and ripped apart by deportations, cannot afford to wait for change.

- DREAM Activist (MA Graduate DREAMer - Blogger), San Francisco, CA Nov 24 @ 01:27PM PST