First-Ever Senate Hearing On the DREAM Act:Voices for Utah Children Urges Passage of DREAM
Voices for Utah Children applauded news that Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) will chair the first-ever Senate hearing on the DREAM Act on Tuesday, June 28th, at 10:00 am ET. The hearing will be webcast live at www.judiciary.senate.gov.
Since the DREAM Act was originally introduced in 2001, hundreds of thousands of hardworking immigrant students have faced limited access to a college education and have been denied the opportunity to contribute socially and economically to our state and our nation. Due to inaction at the federal level, several states – including Utah – have been left to address this issue by passing their own legislation to provide in-state tuition to qualifying undocumented students in their state. However, Congressional action is necessary to ensure that these talented students are able to legalize their status and become fully contributing members of society. Karen Crompton, Executive Director of Voices for Utah Children stated: “If Congress fails to act quickly, thousands of more children will be forced to face an uncertain future. As an organization committed to the ideals that all our children deserve the opportunity to dream and achieve their full potential, we urge Congress to support the DREAM Act."
Durbin will chair the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Witnesses include:
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The Honorable Arne Duncan
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Clifford Stanley
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
U.S. Department of Defense
Lieutenant Colonel Margaret Stock
U.S. Army Reserves Retired, Anchorage, Alaska
Steven A. Camarota
Director of Research
Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, DC
Durbin said in a statement released June 21, “I’ve been working on the DREAM Act for over ten years. In that time, it’s been reported out of committee by a large bipartisan margin, passed the House of Representatives, and received a bipartisan majority vote in the Senate, only to fall because of a filibuster. I’ll convene the first-ever Senate hearing on this bill next week to discuss how the DREAM Act will make our country stronger by giving undocumented students a chance to earn legal status if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and complete two years of college or military service in good standing.”
The DREAM Act is a common sense proposal that would provide undocumented youth that have grown up in the U.S. with the opportunity to earn their legal status provided they came here before the age of 16, have lived in the country at least five years from the date of passage, maintain good moral character, and complete two years of college or military service. Each year, approximately 65,000 talented students graduate from American high schools and find their dreams of college deferred due to their immigration status. Every day these children also must live in fear of being separated from their families and deported to a country they may no longer remember.
The reasons to pass the DREAM Act are many. First and foremost, the passage of the bill is the right thing to do for children. In fact, nearly half of all potential DREAM Act beneficiaries are children currently enrolled in our elementary and secondary schools. Through no choice of their own, DREAM students were brought to our country at a young age, and for many this is the only country they have ever known. These are children who have grown up in our communities, excelled in our schools, and like their native-born peers, consider themselves the future doctors, soldiers, teachers, and engineers that will resolve the many challenges we face today as a nation. Thus, the DREAM Act can help secure our future economy through the development of a highly educated workforce.