Yesterday, the DREAM Act was reintroduced in Congress by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA-28) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-18). The legislation would provide a path to citizenship for talented and ambitious undocumented students brought to the U.S. as minors. Senator Durbin's press conference on the bill's introduction is available online.
In NACAC's statement on the reintroduction, Director of Public Policy and Research David Hawkins notes: "College admission counseling professionals meet bright young students every year who have achieved academically and have done everything our country has asked of them, but who are prevented from furthering their education due to circumstances beyond their control. In supporting the DREAM Act, our primary objective is to ensure that these students are afforded the opportunity to complete their education and contribute to the nation as fully accepted members of our society."
NACAC has advocated for the DREAM Act as a college access initiative for the last decade. In December during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress, the DREAM Act passed in the House, but was unable to receive the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, despite a bipartisan majority supporting the bill.
The introduction followed President Obama's speech on comprehensive immigration reform in Texas earlier this week. In his remarks, the President discussed the DREAM Act, stating: "[A]s I gave that commencement at Miami Dade, it broke my heart knowing that a number of those promising, bright students -- young people who worked so hard and who speak about what’s best in America -- are at risk of facing the agony of deportation. These are kids who grew up in this country. They love this country. They know no other place to call home. The idea that we’d punish them is cruel. It makes no sense. We’re a better nation than that." The speech coincided with the unveiling of the White House's Blueprint for Immigration Reform.
NACAC will continue to collaborate with coalition partners to move the DREAM Act through Congress and to President Obama's desk for signature. You can take part in the advocacy: Visit NACAC's Legislative Action Center to send a pre-written message to your Senators and Representative urging support for the DREAM Act.