The D.R.E.A.M. (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, would provide certain immigrant students who graduate from an American High School, are of good moral character, arrived in the US as children, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency. The students will obtain temporary residency for a lapse of six years. Within the six year period, a qualified student must attend college, and earn a two year degree, or serve in the military for two years in order to earn citizenship after the six years period. If student does not comply with either his/her college requirement or military service requirement, temporary residency will be taken away and student will be subjected to deportation.
Without passage of the D.R.E.A.M. Act, children and youth, many of whom know no other country but ours, risk deportation through no fault of their own. Critics suggest that these children's simply suffer the 'illegal' action of their parents. But consider the fact that we accept responsibility for AND pay for their public education in most cases for 12 years. They've played on football teams, been valedictorian or salutatorian. They have volunteered and been members of churches. They only ask for the opportunity to continue their education or serve our country and have the prospect of becoming citizens. This country can only benefit from the passage of this legislation.
The D.R.E.A.M. Act is an important interim step. It would probably be totally unnecessary, if our country had a coherent immigration policy. Until that time comes allowing children who are already a part of our society - who are not causing trouble and only want a viable future only makes sense.
I look forward to seeing you at the D.R.E.A.M. Act Symposium at SMU. Come and learn that this legislation and real comprehensive immigration reform don't have to be threats, they can be wonderful opportunities for our country.
Liz Cedillo-Pereira, a wonderfully committed immigration attorney in Dallas had the wonderful opportunity to ask President Obama that the D.R.E.A.M. Act needs to be passed. His reaction? "When it comes across my desk, I'll sign it..."
Let's get it on his desk!