Tuesday, September 18, 2007

DREAM Act Resurrected: Time to Take Action.

One would think that a bill that would allow 60,000 high school graduates a year the opportunity to pursue higher education could garner pretty widespread support in Washington, particularly given our President's commitment to educational excellence and leaving no child behind.

And if these graduates came from a segment of society which the right-wing continually claims under-performs academically and eventually becomes a burden on society, one would think winger politicians would be falling over themselves to support legislation that would enable these ethnic scholars to become more productive members of society, even if to only supply more to the tax base.

OK .. just kidding .

We all know that wingers see 60,000 immigrant kids yearning for an education and say:

"No way, your American dream ends right here, we don't care that you were raised and schooled in this country, we don't care that despite all odds, you've succeeded, we don't care that you're just as 'American' as the next kid."

…all they see are "illegal aliens"

Each year approximately 2.8 million students graduate from United States High Schools. Some of them will go on to college, join the military, or take other paths in life, hopefully all becoming productive members of society, But for approximately 60,000 of them these opportunities will never be available , not because they lack motivation, or achievement, but because of the status passed on to them by their parents. They cannot attend college, or otherwise live a full lifes. Children that grew up on American soil, respected the laws of this country, and want nothing more than to be recognized for what they are, Americans….despite the "sins of there fathers."

But it doesn't have to be this way

A simple little bill, written by Sen.Dick Durbin(D-Il), can change the situation.

At seven pages long it's got a few simple provisions that would allow thousands of kids who've worked hard and played by the rules to qualify for the exact same rights afforded every student in the nation. … the right to continue their educations and make a better life for themselves and there families.

Wingers call the legislation "just one more shamnsty" bill, because it allows those who have lived here most of there lives, and know no other home, a conditional reprieve from arrest and deportation. It allows them a chance to temporarily shrug off the yoke of their parents "misdeeds" and provides them an opportunity to prove themselves "worthy" of their adopted home.

The DREAM Act would provide a path to legality for persons brought illegally to the United States by their parents as children, or whose parents attempted to immigrate legally but were then denied legality.

To qualify, the immigrant student would have to meet certain requirements:

  • Proof of having arrived in the United States before reaching 16 years of age;

  • Proof of residence in the United States for a least five (5) consecutive years since their date of arrival.

  • Having graduated from an American High School, or obtained a GED.

  • "Good moral character," essentially defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any drug charges whatsoever).

After meeting the above requirements students would be eligible to apply for a temporary six year "conditional" residence permit which would allow them to live legally in the United States, obtain driver's licenses, attend college as in-state residents, work legally (including obtaining a social security number), and apply for special travel documents which would allow for travel outside of the country for limited amounts of time.

During the six years of conditional status, the eligible immigrant would be required to either:

  1. graduate from a two-year community college,

  2. Complete at least two years towards a 4-year degree, or

  3. serve two years in the U.S. military.

After the six year period, an immigrant who meets at least one of these three conditions would be eligible to apply for legal permanent resident (green card) status. During their temporary time, immigrants would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants, though they would be able to apply for student loans and work study.

If the immigrant does not meet the educational or military service requirement within the six year time period, their temporary residence would be revoked and he or she would be subject to deportation.

During the six years, the immigrant must not commit any crimes other than those considered non-drug related misdemeanors, regardless of whether or not they have already been approved for permanent status at the end of their six years.

Being convicted of a major crime or drug-related infraction would automatically remove the six year temporary residence status and he or she would be subject to deportation.

If the immigrant meets all of the conditions at the end of the 6-year conditional period, he or she would be granted a permanent green card with the same rights as a permanent resident alien, including the right to apply for U.S. citizenship.

It's a simple enough bill. No hundreds of pages of legal-speak and loopholes like most immigration related legislation.

The qualifications are simple and cut and dry, The "benefits" and obligations easily understood. You can read a copy here to see for yourself.

Wingers are already gearing up to fight this bill. Their spin machine of obfuscating rhetoric is ready to go. Numbers USA has already sent out hundreds of thousands of action alerts to oppose the legislation. Michele Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Relly and Lou Dobbs are already spreading their foul bile and propaganda.

But there's not much to debate here.

One either sees these children raised and schooled in America as future Americans …or sees them as nothing more than the products of their parents "misdeeds" who must be punished the rest of their lives as such.

Call your Senators Now (call between 9am and 5 pm)

Or e-mail your Senator

Better yet, Fax you Senator now


The following Senators have not yet committed on the DREAM Act

If any of these are your Senators, contact them through the direct channels provided above.

If not, phone them by contacting the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121

Alabama: Shelby
Alaska: Murkowski, Stevens
Arkansas: Pryor
Colorado: Allard
Georgia: Chambliss, Isakson
Idaho: Crapo
Indiana: Bayh
Iowa: Grassley, Harkin
Kansas: Brownback,Roberts
Kentucky: McConnell
Louisiana: Landrieu
Maine: Collins
Michigan: Stabenow
Minnesota: Coleman
Mississippi: Cochran
Missouri: Bond, McCaskill
Montana: Baucus, Tester
Nebraska: Nelson (Ben)
Nevada: Ensign
New Hampshire: Sununu
New Mexico: Bingaman, Domenici
North Carolina: Burr, Dole
North Dakota: Dorgan
Ohio: Brown, Voinovich
Oklahoma: Coburn
Oregon: Smith
South Carolina: DeMint
South Dakota: *Johnson, Thune
Tennessee: Alexander, Corker
Texas: Cornyn, Hutchison
Utah: Hatch
Vermont: Sanders
Virginia: Warner, Webb
West Virginia: Byrd, Rockefeller
Wyoming: Enzi, Barrasso

and let them know;
you support the children,
you support education,
you support fairness,
you support opportunity,
you support the Dream Act.

1) SUPPORT the Durbin DREAM Act Amendment to the Defense Authorization (H.R. 1585)

2) Each year, thousands of immigrants who graduate from high school and who have grown up in the United States are unable to pursue their dreams of going to college because they lack legal immigration status.

3) This amendment would provide deserving undocumented immigrant students with an opportunity to apply for legal status and to continue their education.

4) Children who were not old enough to make their own decisions when entering the United States should not be held responsible for their parents' actions. They should be given an opportunity to go earn legal status and contribute to this country.

5) Providing these children with the opportunity to come out of the shadows and maximize their potential will strengthen the nation's economic foundation and remedy a clear injustice in our immigration system.

For more information see: National Immigration Law Council


Chris said...

I went to the numberusa.com site, and I wonder if it might be better to focus the energy on the senators that can be persuaded. They made a list. We could just emphasize on those who as they say "most need our calls". But do the opposite of the numbersusa.com people, and ask the senator to vote YES on the Dream Act. I know my senators Boxer and Feinstein are voting yes, but I feel people need to reach outside of their home state just like the numbersusa.com people do.
Here's a link.


Duke1676 said...

Thanks Chris,

Great suggestion


nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez said...

Damn, duke. That's a hell of a post.

Duke1676 said...

Thanks Nezua,

This one's just such a no-brainer, I can't believe we're going to have to fight so hard to make it happen.

The winger hate-machine is so ramped up that they can't even see how beneficial this bill is to everyone in this country, regardless of status.

Instead of allowing these kids to flourish and grow and become leaders for the future, they attempt to crush their spirit, but that spirit won't die, it only multiplies…and in the end will take a mighty bite out of the wingers ass.

Flying Monkey said...

Sept. 26, 2007, 8:35AM
Hope fades for passage of bill to aid young illegal immigrants

WASHINGTON — The hope for immediate Senate action on the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants, faded Tuesday as the measure's chief Senate sponsor acknowledged he was having difficulty surmounting Republican opposition.

With conservatives being barraged with calls, faxes and e-mails from anti-illegal immigration groups that view the DREAM Act as a form of amnesty, some Republicans who supported the measure in the past have been reluctant to do so now. Durbin needs 60 votes to surmount an expected filibuster.