May 11, 2011
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
Urging Congress To Pass the DREAM Act
WASHINGTON—The DREAM Act is the right thing to do for our country and for immigrant youth who have shown, through their hard work and commitment, an irrepressible desire to achieve their dreams. We applaud U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) for reintroducing the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act today in Congress and for their tenacity in the face of indefensible opposition.
The bill would create a pathway to legal status for qualified students who come to the United States before the age of 16 if they, in addition to meeting other requirements, complete at least two years of college or military service.
Each year, about 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools. Among them are class leaders and valedictorians, straight-A students and idealistic young people whose goals include becoming tomorrow’s nurses, engineers, computer programmers and soldiers. It is a travesty to maintain barriers that hold back these students, instead of creating opportunities. We strongly urge Congress to consider and pass the DREAM Act now.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.