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Possibility of DREAM Act Taken Up by Congress

This week, Congress is expected to take up the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) of 2009.The DREAM Act, introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in 2001, would give eligible immigrants conditional permanent resident status and the opportunity to attend college or join the military. Those eligible must be between the ages of 18 and 34, have entered the United States prior to age 16, have obtained a high school diploma, and must attend college for at least two years or joined the military. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers, stated “70 percent of the American public supports the DREAM Act. We want Congress to do the will of the American people and pass the DREAM Act.” Huerta is currently in Arizona with student supporters who have been fasting for seven days in front of Senator John McCain’s office. The DREAM Act is particularly important for undocumented women and their children, whose median income is $16, 562 lower than US citizens. Without access to legal immigration status, undocumented women are increasing vulnerable to a vicious cycle of poverty. Leslye Orloff, Legal Momentum’s Vice President and Director of the Immigrant Women Program, stated, “The DREAM Act will greatly improve the lives of immigrant women and their children and particularly immigrant girls, enhancing their safety, well0being and economic capacity.”

Sources:

National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women Fact Sheet 8/20/10; The White House Blog 12/5/10; Immigration Policy Center Statement 11/23/10; Library of Congress 12/6/10