This week, the Senate is set to vote on the DREAM Act, a long overdue piece of legislation that would provide thousands of undocumented young people a now-illusive path to citizenship.
The bill (officially known as the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act) would, as an editorial in Monday’s New York Times put it, "[open] the door to military service and higher education for young people whose parents brought them to this country as children without proper documentation. If they finish high school, show good moral character and serve at least two years in the military or earn a college degree, they can earn citizenship."
The editorial goes on to highlight the importance of the act by noting that,
Those who might qualify roughly 800,000 of the 11 million people living here without authorization are blameless for their illegal status and helpless to make it right. Most cannot leave their families to return to countries they do not know. They cannot legally work, qualify for scholarships or loans to pay for college, or serve in the military. They live in limbo, vulnerable to arrest, their dreams deferred, their hopes squandered.
Passage of the DREAM Act would represent a giant step forward in America’s treatment of its immigrant population — but despite support from the both US Military and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, it’s still uncertain whether there is enough support in the Senate to see the bill through.
A number of Ms. Foundation grantees have stepped up to support this critical piece of legislation, including the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Make the Road (a member of the Right to the City alliance, which the Ms. Foundation funds). These organizations and many others are urging individuals to speak out in support of the DREAM Act. Here are two ways to make your voice heard on this issue:
1.Make a phone call: With a vote this close, picking up the phone and encouraging your Senators to vote yes could make all the difference.
2.Attend an event: If you’re in New York, there will be a rally on the steps of City Hall at 10:00 am on Wednesday, September 23rd. The goal is to get New York City Council to pass a resolution in support of the DREAM Act. For more information about this event, contact Make the Road New York.