National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Dreamers

June 24, 2009 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

Yesterday, 500 students and activists for the DREAM Act gathered for a “graduation ceremony” on Capitol Hill.  There, they heard speeches from some national advocates who have been advocating for the DREAM Act for a long time.  There were new allies.  Bill Kamela, from the Microsoft Corporation and Maribel Solivan, from the College Board.  Both of these organizations—one, a software giant; one, the creators of the SAT—have recently endorsed the DREAM Act.


 


As usual with this cause, the most impressive advocates were the students themselves.  Articulate, smart young men and women whose courage we can only wish would rub off some on our Members of Congress.  Some of the students who spoke at yesterday’s ceremony are in deportation proceedings, and America is only weeks away from losing them—men and women who would contribute greatly to America, but won’t be allowed to because right now our dysfunctional immigration policy makes no place for them.


 


These young men and women could only exhort their peers to fight on.  And guess what?  They won’t give up.  If Congress doesn’t take up the DREAM Act this year—either as part of comprehensive immigration reform or on its own—they will be back again and again and again until Congress fixes the law.  Each year, their numbers grow and they become more determined.


 


After the graduation ceremony, the DREAM students, in their graduation gowns, fanned out to lobby their Members of Congress.  They had an impact.  Six more members of the House agreed to sponsor the DREAM Act.  (They also impressed an editorialist for the New York Times.)


 


Tomorrow, the President will meet with Members of Congress to kick off the latest round of debate on comprehensive immigration reform.  It might be too late for some of the students who spoke at yesterday’s ceremony.  But if Congress could find some courage in the determination of these young people, and pass comprehensive immigration reform this year, we will finally be able to embrace these students and let them turn their energies to making our future here in America a better one.


 



DREAM Act Student


Photo: Maurice Belanger

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