Students Refuse to Give Up on Dream Act, Despite Latest Setback

Students Refuse to Give Up on Dream Act, Despite Latest Setback

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High school and college students in New York, who for years have been lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would bring undocumented students closer to their dream of attending college and pursuing a career, said last week they are not giving up the fight after lawmakers again refused to consider the Dream Act.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would pave a path to citizenship for undocumented students who arrived in the United States as minors, by giving them access to higher education and the ability to serve in the military. The bill has been introduced numerous times without success. Last week it stalled again, falling four votes short of a motion that would have allowed Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to introduce it as part of a defense allocation bill.

Yessica Martinez, 17, an undocumented student who arrived from Medellin, Colombia when she was 10, underwent an emotional rollercoaster during last week’s legislative battle. For three years, she has been a Dream Act activist at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, where she is an honor student. Though she said she was upset, she was not defeated.

“We’re going to fight until this happens, and if it doesn’t happen today, it’s going to happen tomorrow; and even if it doesn’t happen then, we’re going to keep fighting until it does,” said Martinez, who wants to go to college to study journalism.

A 2010 report released by the American Immigration Council estimates that there are 1.5 million undocumented children in the United States; every year, 65,000 undocumented students who have lived in the United States for over five years graduate from high school.

Without a legal status, undocumented adolescents cannot obtain a driver’s license in most states or apply for federal financial aid to pay for their studies. Also, because most lack a work permit and social security number, they can’t be employed. So, at a time when most young people begin dreaming about the future, for these students there is none.

“You grow up thinking you can do everything you want to do but it’s not true. You can’t do all the things all American adults can,” said Angy Rivera, 20, who came to the United States from Armenia, Colombia with her mother at age 3 and is in the country illegally. She lives in Queens and is a freshman at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She hopes to one day help fight human and animal abuse.

“I feel like my future always has to be decided by a congressman or somebody else,” added Rivera.

The New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella organization for 200 groups representing the state’s 4 million immigrants, condemned the Senate’s decision to discard the Dream Act and called for more pressure on legislators.

Americans for Legal Immigration, a political action committee based in North Carolina, celebrated the bill’s defeat. The committee’s president, William Gheen, said the attempt to bring the Dream Act back to legislation failed because the vast majority of Americans reject all forms of amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

“Those students should blame their parents for invading another nation illegally and should return to the nations they are citizens of,” said Gheen.

But student activists from the New York State Youth Leadership Council --a youth-led network that represents high schools, colleges and community-based organizations to improve equal opportunity in education for immigrants-- have a different outcome in mind.

Sonia Guinansaca, 21, a Hunter College student and active member of the organization, boarded a 5 a.m. bus to Washington D.C. on September 23, along with 15 fellow activists to begin a new round of lobbying, two days after the bill was defeated.

“People are saying that the Dream Act has fallen, or (wait until) next year for (the) Dream Act. No! We want the Dream Act now,” said Guinansaca, who came from Ecuador when she was 5 and is also undocumented.

Her group made more than 25,000 calls last week and it is now pushing for a stand-alone bill to be introduced and voted on before the elections.

“It was amazing to see the undocumented and supporters of undocumented youth mobilizing,” said Guinansaca. “We are very energized and ready. This was not a step back, but a step up.”

S.J. Jung, president of MinKwon Center for Community Action --a New York-based Korean American organization that works to educate community members about issues affecting immigrant communities—said his group will push for the Dream Act one more time before the “lame duck session,” the period between the November elections and the arrival of newly elected officials in December.

“If Republicans gain more seats during the November elections, that would obviously create more problems for our nation and it will be tougher for us to push forward the Dream Act,” said Jung.

The pro-immigrant organization, Reform Immigration for America, indicated through a press release that last week, pro-Dream Act advocates carried out 70 events in 26 different states, made over 50,000 calls and sent 90,000 faxes to senators.

“It is up to us, and how strong of a public momentum we can generate,” said Jung.

 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

we the best

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

"Estimated Price Tag To Remove All Illegals Immigrants From The U.S Completely Is Less Than The Failed Stimulus Bill"
August, 2010

Mr. X
U.S.A


Dear Mr. X
Thank you for contacting me about immigration reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

Our nation faces a host of problems as a result of years of inattention to our immigration policies. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that about 11 million people in the United States lack legal status, including those who enter the country illegally and those who overstay temporary visas.

Illegal immigration raises national security and economic issues that must be addressed. I have worked to reform our immigration system comprehensively. A number of Senators, including myself, recently released a blueprint outlining the basic principles a comprehensive reform measure should include.

The blueprint would improve border security by increasing manpower and deploying new technology. Many people have asked for reforms that would secure our borders before putting the immigrants who are already here on a path to legal status. In response to that concern, a "trigger" was included in the 2007 immigration bill and is preserved in the 2010 blueprint. The plan would require that certain border security and enforcement benchmarks be met before any program is started that would address the status of illegal immigrants already here.

Congress has taken many steps in recent years to step up security at our borders. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $100 million for inspection systems to be deployed at border ports of entry, $100 million for border security technology on the Southwest border, and $420 million for modernization and construction of facilities used to control and process border crossings. The Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act provided $8.1 billion for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. This amount includes $19 million to hire an additional 100 Border Patrol agents. The bill also provided $800 million for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was allocated $5.3 billion to support investigation activities and detention and removal operations. The bill funds 33,400 detention beds and requires that at least $2.5 billion be used in the detention and removal of unauthorized persons. The bill provides $1.5 billion to identify and remove those with criminal records illegally residing in the United States.

The new immigration blueprint also calls for strengthened enforcement against employers who hire illegal immigrants, an essential element of comprehensive reform. The federal government must crack down on employers who ignore our nation's laws and hire illegal immigrants. The reform proposal calls for a biometric employment verification system and increased penalties for hiring illegal immigrants.

If we are serious about reform, we also must adopt a realistic approach to the millions of undocumented immigrants who live and work in our country. Mass deportation of illegal immigrants is impractical and too expensive. Experts estimate that deporting all of the undocumented immigrants would cost more than $280 billion, seven times DHS's budget last year. Instead, we need to offer immigrants who work hard and demonstrate a long-term commitment to be law-abiding, contributing members of our country a chance to pay fines and earn their way to permanent legal status over the course of many years. Some have falsely called this amnesty. I oppose amnesty because it is not right to reward those who have broken the law with automatic citizenship. This proposal will not give amnesty to illegal immigrants.

The blueprint calls for a two-phase system of legalization. The first phase would require all undocumented individuals to register with the government, pass criminal background checks, and pay fees in order to be granted lawful prospective immigrant status. The second phase would occur eight years later, after the current visa backlog has been processed. At that stage, undocumented aliens would be able to earn their way to permanent legal status only if they pass updated criminal background checks; possess basic citizenship skills; demonstrate basic English language skills; pay all federal taxes, fees, and penalties; and register for the Selective Service.

If we do not give people who are already a part of our communities the chance to earn legal status, we will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. Those living here illegally will stay in the shadows instead of coming forward to register. This hurts our national security and hurts American workers, who are being undercut by cheap illegal labor.

I am deeply concerned about the impact of potential temporary guest worker programs. In contrast to those immigrants who are already here and actively engaged in our workforce, guest worker programs would bring in a large future flow of workers with no long-term commitment to our country. I voted to eliminate the guest worker program in the previous Senate immigration bill. When that effort was unsuccessful, I offered a Hire Americans First amendment to require employers to seek American workers for their open positions before they try to bring in guest workers. I have also introduced legislation designed to protect American workers by addressing major abuses in the H-1B visa program.

There is no perfect solution to the problems we face as a result of our broken immigration system. Today, our borders are not secure, our workplace enforcement laws need reform, and our immigration policy fosters a shadow economy for millions of immigrants who simply want to demonstrate that they can be hardworking contributors to the greatness of our country. I will continue to work for a package of reforms that will protect American workers and that will be tough, enforceable, economically sensible, and morally defensible. I will keep your views in mind as the debate continues.

Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
RJD/ab

Pass It On!!!

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

What continues to amaze me is that these young people feel that they have the same rights that an American citizen has. Are they going to demand the right to vote without being legalized next?

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

Sen. Durbin, first I would like to see a est. cost of ILLEGAL ALIENS to the USA from all sources on per year avg. I believe it would be in the $100bil range.There are so many things about your post I disagree with that a response would be just as long as yours. The one statement I must comment on -"Illegal immigration raises national security and economic issues that must be addressed" - Then WHY HAS IT NOT !?! The ONLY logical reason is that AMNESTY and DREAM ACT have not been forced thru congress. Which translates to you and a "number of Senators" place the amnesty/dream act at a higher PRIORITY than the national security/economics of the USA and all of her citizens! A "number of citizens" find those priorities faulty at best. Just curious, if the stimulus would have been used to deport all the illegal aliens that have been- arrested at any time, any gang affiliation, any attempt to get Gov assistance, etc, etc, etc- how many citizens jobs would you estimate could have been "saved or created"? You support the idea of strongly penalizing people that pay for an "illegal" service and a slap on the wrist for the one offering the service- would you recommend that penalty to a john/prostitute, or a drug user/drug dealer? It is a good idea to punish employers that "ignore our countries laws and hire illegal immigrants"- but what about the ILLEGAL ALIENS that "ignore our countries laws" by illegal entry into the USA? What of the ones that also smuggle friends/family with them? Why should buying stolen property be a worse crime than stealing? You say we cant solve the problem of illegal aliens without giving them a chance to get legal status- I say if all employers/employees are held accountable for proper identification, and ALL law enforcement have access to fingerprint ID with any and all agencies (like it is pretty much done with US citizens) that would all but eliminate mass amnesty. I have many more issues with the way "reform" is described/defined in your response. Mr Y

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

Sen. Durbin, first I would like to see a est. cost of ILLEGAL ALIENS to the USA from all sources on per year avg. I believe it would be in the $100bil range.There are so many things about your post I disagree with that a response would be just as long as yours. The one statement I must comment on -"Illegal immigration raises national security and economic issues that must be addressed" - Then WHY HAS IT NOT !?! The ONLY logical reason is that AMNESTY and DREAM ACT have not been forced thru congress. Which translates to you and a "number of Senators" place the amnesty/dream act at a higher PRIORITY than the national security/economics of the USA and all of her citizens! A "number of citizens" find those priorities faulty at best. Just curious, if the stimulus would have been used to deport all the illegal aliens that have been- arrested at any time, any gang affiliation, any attempt to get Gov assistance, etc, etc, etc- how many citizens jobs would you estimate could have been "saved or created"? You support the idea of strongly penalizing people that pay for an "illegal" service and a slap on the wrist for the one offering the service- would you recommend that penalty to a john/prostitute, or a drug user/drug dealer? It is a good idea to punish employers that "ignore our countries laws and hire illegal immigrants"- but what about the ILLEGAL ALIENS that "ignore our countries laws" by illegal entry into the USA? What of the ones that also smuggle friends/family with them? Why should buying stolen property be a worse crime than stealing? You say we cant solve the problem of illegal aliens without giving them a chance to get legal status- I say if all employers/employees are held accountable for proper identification, and ALL law enforcement have access to fingerprint ID with any and all agencies (like it is pretty much done with US citizens) that would all but eliminate mass amnesty. I have many more issues with the way "reform" is described/defined in your response. Mr Y

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

Sen. Durbin, first I would like to see a est. cost of ILLEGAL ALIENS to the USA from all sources on per year avg. I believe it would be in the $100bil range.There are so many things about your post I disagree with that a response would be just as long as yours. The one statement I must comment on -"Illegal immigration raises national security and economic issues that must be addressed" - Then WHY HAS IT NOT !?! The ONLY logical reason is that AMNESTY and DREAM ACT have not been forced thru congress. Which translates to you and a "number of Senators" place the amnesty/dream act at a higher PRIORITY than the national security/economics of the USA and all of her citizens! A "number of citizens" find those priorities faulty at best. Just curious, if the stimulus would have been used to deport all the illegal aliens that have been- arrested at any time, any gang affiliation, any attempt to get Gov assistance, etc, etc, etc- how many citizens jobs would you estimate could have been "saved or created"? You support the idea of strongly penalizing people that pay for an "illegal" service and a slap on the wrist for the one offering the service- would you recommend that penalty to a john/prostitute, or a drug user/drug dealer? It is a good idea to punish employers that "ignore our countries laws and hire illegal immigrants"- but what about the ILLEGAL ALIENS that "ignore our countries laws" by illegal entry into the USA? What of the ones that also smuggle friends/family with them? Why should buying stolen property be a worse crime than stealing? You say we cant solve the problem of illegal aliens without giving them a chance to get legal status- I say if all employers/employees are held accountable for proper identification, and ALL law enforcement have access to fingerprint ID with any and all agencies (like it is pretty much done with US citizens) that would all but eliminate mass amnesty. I have many more issues with the way "reform" is described/defined in your response. Mr Y

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

dream act = amnesty + education

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

Mr. X you really took this to a different level. This article only talks about young student who want to stay in college and pay for college. and have a job and help this country to the best of its ability Why? We have to be so ignorant tell me why ?.. this bill has been perfectly written and people still thinks its an amnesty and takes this to a complete different... be open mind it people... this will never change they will still come in and yes yes we will welcome why because we don't want to do their job. yes is an illegal who's doing to lawn and cleaning your house.

God Bless Anmerica

P.S. think outside the box is what our country needs.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

I caught a fantastic segment on Free Speech TV over the weekend from the One Nation March. This is a powerful moment from Saturday's historic event. Jesse Jackson was joined on the main stage by a young student. Please take moment to watch this very powerful address to the crowd.

http://www.livestream.com/freespeechtv/video?clipId=flv_341afcd8-b105-4505-a6e8-7139ee7890b8

Anonymous

Posted Oct 3 2010

I caught a fantastic segment on Free Speech TV over the weekend from the One Nation March. This is a powerful moment from Saturday's historic event. Jesse Jackson was joined on the main stage by a young student. Please take moment to watch this very powerful address to the crowd.

http://www.livestream.com/freespeechtv/video?clipId=flv_341afcd8-b105-4505-a6e8-7139ee7890b8

Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2010

All you Dreamies are losers, the illegal aliens who grew up in the USA that have already gone back to their country of nationality where the economies are better than the USA are kicking ass and climbing the ladder to success, they are the winners. Face it you don't have the motivation that they do to improve their life entirely by their own initiative, you just want a handout. Immature losers you all are.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2010

These "students" don't even need the Dream Act, they can go to college in their home country or even came back here legally on a student visa. The Dream Act is actually all about getting a reward (in-state tuition and green card) for breaking the law. It is also about amnesty for millions of non-college students, non-High School graduates who pay $100 for a fake GED. Sorry, Americans are on to you deception which is why the Dream Act will never pass, go to the back of the immigration line (outside of the USA) like everyone else in the world has to.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2010

The DREAM Act no more than backdoor piecemeal BLANKET AMNESTY for the ILLEGALS!

The rhetoric for the AMNESTY DREAM Act is false and misleading. This amnesty is NOT limited to high school valedictorians and other high-achieving college students who were brought to the U.S. illegally when they were toddlers.

The AMNESTY includes ILLEGALS up to age 35!

And their arrival can be as late as age 15!

The bill is a giant fraud loophole. People can claim the AMNESTY without providing proof of meeting criteria.

Even the supporters of the DREAM AMNESTY admit that around 2.1 million people could qualify.
The AMNESTY DREAM Act does nothing to stop the behavior that put teenagers into their situation. It leaves the jobs magnet in place.

This AMNESTY DREAM Act has no enforcement measures at all. It allows ILLEGAL EMPLOYERS to continue to hire ILLEGALS, enticing millions more parents to bring their children here illegally and stay long enough for them to become high school students and demand another AMNESTY in a few years.

The AMNESTY DREAM Act leaves intact the chain migration system that will allow these 2.1 million ILLEGALS to eventually send for millions more relatives.

Rather quickly, the AMNESTIED ILLEGALS would be able to get green cards for their parents. And millions of additional relatives would be able to start planning their applications and getting in line. This starts with adult siblings and moves on to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

A large percentage of the ILLEGALS in the U.S. today are extended family members of the ILLEGALS who got AMNESTY in 1986 and also those in the six more-limited AMNESTY in the 1990s.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2010

The real Dream Act would send these students back to their HOME countries and stop draining our resources that could be used to assist U.S. Citizens and NOT the ILLEGALS and their anchors! Just follow the money! The Elitist Politicians and their Elitist Political Contributors want to maintain having U.S. Citizens pay the benefits for their ILLEGALS while they continue to have their BOTTOM LINES increased with the Cheap ILLEGAL Labor at the taxpayer's expense! The Elitists are no more concerned about the ILLEGALS than they are of United States Citizens;

Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2010

Jung,
If you are helping foreign criminals to steal from Americans, then you are not an American and this is not your country.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 4 2010

Dear Senator Durbin, i congradulate you on your efforts to reform our broken immigration system and praise you for your hard work. i hope that since Senator Menedez has introduced a reasonable immigration bill that should catch the eyes of some Republicans that hopefully we can resolve this situation and give immigrants the chance to assimilate and be productive in America. If not, I know that hopefully the Dream Act will be passed before the elections or after during the lame duck session. Again, keep up the good work because America is behind you and so is the Latino community. Take care and God bless! Madam V

Anonymous

Posted Oct 7 2010

I don't know if any you out there know that we are spending 54 cents on war, 2.5 cents on education and less than 2 cents on NASA out of every dollar a tax payer pays. Is war solving anything? Think about it. I have heard argument that these student will be taking spots in our schools so there might not be enough for all of those who are born here. Why is this an issue anyways?. So that means that we don't have enough schools right!? But how can we have money to have military base in the many countries that are not making peace? Why not make real peace? I mean, how can we turn off a fire with more fire? Why don't we use peace instead of violence? Education, immigration and tax shouldn't even be an issue. Why can't we stop war with peace? Can't we train our people to solve our problems with peace? Stop for a second and think about it. You can make a difference, even you don't support the DREAM Act. Tell people how much we are spending on war. Is it making a difference? Are we safer? Wouldn't we be safer if we educated, peaceful people. Why not allow these young children to help us? you never know we could have real peace maker by giving them a chance. This this about education and nothing else, what we can do is to ask our senator to make it a requirement for all of them to take at least a semester or 12 hours of peace studies courses. I mean who control this country, we the citizen our the government? In fact, I think everyone should have a minor on peace studies. It should be our new requirements from middle school to a minor in college. We need to stop wasting money in war, and invest on education in general and on peace education. Peace or war, it is up to you. I hope you choose peace. Peace=better and safer place to live. War is really for those who own factories to make arms for war only. Think about how they make their money? Would they make any without war? And war BTW make us less safe. Why? Because we having the biggest military, other want the same. We can't tell other not to have big military if we ourself have the biggest one in the human history.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 9 2010

I think we should deport William Gheen, for the record I'm white and my family has been here for generations. I'm tired of scum like him.

Anonymous

Posted Oct 11 2010

Go back to Mexico and stop living off the American people.

Anonymous

Posted Nov 20 2010

Some people just won't take no for an answer. They think they are entitled to break our laws, get a free education and then expect in-stete tuition too. I would be for the dream act if it let people stay here long enough to finish school (not at tax-payer expense) and then return home.

Anonymous

Posted Dec 20 2010

I too have a dream. My dream is that all these people who have been liviing here breaking our laws start paying back the US. taxpayers for their stolden education .They owe thousands of dollers each for the education they have obtained illegally. Return to your own country ,get a job, pay back all the money you owe by sending it to the United States and THEN we can talk amenesty. They say they want to give back to Americia and become good citizens -then prove it by your actions. Otherwise its just gimmie gimmie despite their illegal status . These are NOT American citizens and it appears they are unwilling to earn that status by paying back what they owe.

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