As early as Friday, Congress may vote on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure thousands of immigrant children who have grown up in the United States can get the post-secondary education they need to contribute to society. Under the DREAM Act, qualified students who were brought to the United States before age 16 would be eligible to gain legal permanent residency status if they graduate from a community college, complete at least two years toward a four-year degree, or serve two years in the U.S. military. They also would have to pass background checks.The students affected by this bill who have graduated from U.S. high schools, often after attending U.S. schools for most of their lives. Despite having established roots and earning their diplomas here, their immigration status bars them in many cases from opportunities that make a college education affordable, including in-state tuition rates, loans, and grants, and most private scholarships. In effect, under current U.S. law our nation, after investing in these students’ elementary and secondary education, reverses course at the post-secondary level and in effect says this investment must be squandered.
Delegates to the American Federation of Teachers convention last summer voted overwhelmingly to support this legislation. You can contact your representative and senators in support of the DREAM Act via this link: http://action.aft.org/c/44/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=720.