The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is bipartisan legislation that will provide a path to legal status for individuals brought to the U.S. as children. Students with good moral character who came to the U.S. at age 15 or younger and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years before the date of the bill’s enactment would qualify for conditional permanent resident status upon acceptance to college, graduation from a U.S. high school, or being awarded a GED in the U.S. The conditional status will be lifted if the student completes at least two years of college or serves in the military.
A BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
There are more than two million undocumented immigrant youth and students throughout the country, including large numbers of Asian Pacific American youth. Each year approximately 65,000 undocumented immigrant students graduate from U.S. high schools with few prospects to become productive members of our society. These young people had no control over the decision to immigrate to this country, and for many, this is the only country they have ever known.
Due to the broken immigration system, there is no opportunity for the majority of these young people to obtain legal status. Unless there is a change in immigration law, these young people will forever be relegated to a life in the underground economy.
VOICES FROM THE DREAMERS
One of the leaders in the DREAM Act campaign was Tam Tran. Tam was born in Germany after her parents were forced to flee Vietnam. She immigrated to the U.S. and grew up in Garden Grove, California. She graduated from Santiago High School, attended Santa Ana College, and transferred to UCLA, where she earned a bachelor's degree in American Literature and Culture. In 2007, Tam testified before a House subcommittee on immigration and advocated on behalf of the proposed DREAM Act. As a doctoral student in the American Civilization program at Brown University, she helped found the Brown Immigrants' Rights Coalition. Tam was an aspiring filmmaker, and produced several short films, including the acclaimed documentary, "Lost and Found." Tragically, Tam died in a car accident in May 2010. Her legacy to fight for the passage of the DREAM Act and immigrant rights lives on.
APALA calls up on our members, leaders, chapters and allies to reach out to members of Congress to encourage them to support passage of the DREAM Act. APALA also encourages its members and allies to reach out to undocumented immigrant students in their communities to offer support and assistance, and to work together to advance the DREAM Act campaign.
To get more information and to get more involved, please visit: www.dreamactivist.org.