Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Education > Tomorrow is “Make or Break Day” for the DREAM Act

Tomorrow is “Make or Break Day” for the DREAM Act

LatinaLista — I couldn’t help but be drawn to the subject line of one of the first emails of the morning: PLEASE HELP US!
I would have probably deleted it without opening it, assuming it was another one of those overseas money scams, but then I noticed it was from a listserve that has been very active with fighting the building of the border wall along Texas and Mexico.
When I read the email, it was a plea to help two sisters who were enrolled in college – one had graduated from a nursing program and the other was in the middle of her own nursing studies.
The plea wasn’t for money. It was to give them the opportunity to put their U.S. college degrees to work.
You see, legally neither sister can work here in this country, even with U.S. college degrees.
Why? Because they’re both undocumented immigrants.
The emailed plea was to make these sisters’ dream of helping the sick a reality by supporting the imminent Senate vote on a bill known as the Dream Act.

Across the country, debate over the DREAM Act — providing undocumented students who were 15-years-old or younger when they arrived with their parents, a path to citizenship, if they either go on to college or military service and prove to be of good moral character — always seems to get stuck on the point of granting undocumented immigrants in-state tuition.
It doesn’t matter to critics that studies show that in states that already allow undocumented immigrants college access and the opportunity to compete for financial aid that the number of undocumented students is far too small to deprive native-born students of college admission slots or financial aid.
Critics still complain.
But the real complaint should be of the wasted talent that this country is allowing itself not to take advantage of and instead (here’s the real kicker!) would rather import from outside the country.
For example, it’s estimated that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in the United States every year. There are no exact numbers of how many go on to college but we know they do by virtue of the existence of college student groups such as S.U.R.G.E. (Students United to Reach Goals in Education) and IDEAS.
These students juggle classes with homework, jobs, community service, extra-curricular activities and graduate with degrees in hand in the hopes that somebody will notice they are worthy to work legally in this country.
So far, no dice.
These students are graduating as bilingual teachers, nurses, engineers, business administrators — the list goes on.
Yet, this country would rather slap these young people in the face by not acknowledging the fact that these students, who may not be native-born but are “home-grown,” have a ready command, in most cases, of two languages and an intimate knowledge of the history, the traditions, the culture/pop culture and the issues of this country.
The further insult is that school districts facing a shortage of bilingual teachers are bypassing our own qualified graduates, albeit undocumented, to import teachers from Mexico, Spain and other South American countries to teach in a school system that they are unfamiliar with and where they should be role models in modeling both English and Spanish to their bilingual students, inevitably need to either learn English themselves or are naturally stronger in Spanish.
Hospitals are bypassing qualified nursing school graduates who are bilingual to recruit nurses from such countries as the Phillipines. Nurses who must learn U.S. routines and patient care that is unique to this country.
But because our graduates who are undocumented cannot legally work, they must stand idly by and watch their rightful jobs go to people who have a steep learning curve when it comes to knowing the culture and people of the United States.
Yet, there is one last chance to help these students, and in the process our own economy, and that is to speak up about the absurdity of this situation by asking that the Senate pass the DREAM Act.
This evening, I was invited to participate in a conference call with Senator Durbin, the main sponsor of the current DREAM Act bill going before the Senate tomorrow afternoon.
He said that many of his colleagues, who are the same critics who have shouted down the DREAM Act before, have expressed their “displeasure” in having to vote for this bill again.
Why? Because it may help the children of undocumented immigrants?
As one reader of Latina Lista commented, since when in this country do we blame the children for the sins of the parents?
If that were the case, then every child of a drunk driver, robber, rapist, embezzler, etc. would be locked up.
It’s not done because our common sense tells us it’s not right.
In an example of where common sense has gone out the window: on the conference call, one of the speakers made it known that in preparation for tomorrow’s Senate vote on the DREAM Act, a group of undocumented students, college graduates and current students, bravely appeared before members of Congress to brief them on their lives, their struggles, and their hopes.
It was an effort to put a human face to the issue. A memo was sent out to all congressional representatives that the students were doing this. The memo went to Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, a vocal opponent of undocumented immigrants.
His response to the memo was to issue a press release calling for ICE to come and arrest the students.
It is this kind of senseless attack that has doomed this issue to forever be unresolved and is putting the lives of innocent children under undue stress.
Senator Durbin said that if the bill fails to get the 60 votes it needs tomorrow it is dead until after the next president is elected.
These children are ready to serve this country.
Isn’t it time to let common sense prevail?
It can if we call our Senator and tell him/her it’s time — to see reason.

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  • flower
    October 23, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Flyer, lets help these people.
    $$$$ – Must call/ Obstructionist = It takes one Senator to stop the whole Senate from bringing one amendment (DREAM ACT), these SENATORS may try funny business, and should be your TOP PEOPLE TO CALL
    $$$ – Priority = TOSS UPS/ We Need them/It would be great to have them
    $$ – Should be called = Most likely to support us, few calls to them would be nice
    $ – Should be reminded = PRETTY SURE THEY ARE supporting us, cant imagine them not
    Alexander, Lamar- (R – TN (202) 224-4944 $$$$
    Allard, Wayne- (R – CO) (202) 224-5941 $$$$
    Barrasso, John- (R – WY) (202) 224-6441 $$$$
    Baucus, Max- (D – MT) (202) 224-2651 $$$$
    Bennett, Robert F.(R – UT) (202) 224-5444 $
    Bond, ChristopherS(R – MO) (202) 224-5721 $$$$
    Brown, Sherrod- (D – OH) (202) 224-2315 $
    Bunning, Jim- (R – KY) (202) 224-4343 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Burr, Richard- (R – NC) (202) 224-3154 $$$
    Byrd, Robert C.- (D – WV) (202) 224-3954 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Chambliss, Saxby- (R – GA) (202) 224-3521 $$$$
    Coburn, Tom- (R – OK) (202) 224-5754 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Cochran, Thad- (R – MS) (202) 224-5054 $$$$
    Corker, Bob- (R – TN) (202) 224-3344 $$$$
    Cornyn, John- (R – TX) (202) 224-2934 $$$
    DeMint, Jim- (R – SC) (202) 224-6121 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Dole, Elizabeth- (R – NC) (202) 224-6342 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Domenici, Pete V.-(R – NM) (202) 224-6621 $$$$
    Dorgan, Byron L.- (D – ND) (202) 224-2551 $$$
    Ensign, John- (R – NV) (202) 224-6244 $$$$
    Enzi, Michael B.- (R – WY) (202) 224-3424 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Hutchison, Kay Bailey- (R – TX) (202) 224-5922 $$$
    Inhofe, James M.- (R – OK) (202) 224-4721 $$$$
    Isakson, Johnny- (R – GA) (202) 224-3643 $$$$
    Kyl, Jon- (R – AZ) (202) 224-4521 $$
    Lott, Trent- (R – MS) (202) 224-6253 $$$
    McCaskill, Claire- (D – MO) (202) 224-6154 $$$$
    McConnell, Mitch- (R – KY) (202) 224-2541 $$$$
    Murkowski, Lisa- (R – AK) (202) 224-6665 $$$
    Roberts, Pat- (R – KS) (202) 224-4774 $$$$
    Rockefeller, John D., IV- (D – WV)(202) 224-6472 $$$
    Sanders, Bernard- (I – VT)(202) 224-5141 $
    Sessions, Jeff- (R – AL)(202) 224-4124 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Shelby, Richard C.- (R – AL)(202) 224-5744 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Smith, Gordon H.- (R – OR)(202) 224-3753 $$$$
    Stabenow, Debbie- (D – MI)(202) 224-4822 $$$
    Stevens, Ted- (R – AK)(202) 224-3004 $$$
    Sununu, John E.- (R – NH (202) 224-2841$$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Tester, Jon- (D – MT)(202) 224-2644 $$$$
    Thune, John- (R – SD)(202) 224-2321 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Vitter, David- (R – LA)(202) 224-4623 $$$$ Potential obstructionist
    Voinovich, George V.- (R – OH)(202) 224-3353 $$
    Warner, John- (R – VA)(202) 224-2023 $$
    Sen Brownback, Sam [KS] – (202) 224-6521 $
    Sen Coleman, Norm [MN] – (202) 224-5641 $$$
    Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME] – (202) 224-2523 $$
    Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – (202) 224-3744 $$$
    Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] – (202) 224-3254 $$
    Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA] – (202) 224-5824 $$$
    Sen Nelson, E. Benjamin [NE] – (202) 224-6551 $$$$
    Sen Pryor, Mark L. [AR] – (202) 224-2353 $$$$
    FAQ: How was this list crafted?
    A: I crafted this overnight using their history of cosponsoring previous Dream Acts of 2003 till now 2007, additionally there are some Senators not on this list that may have not cosponsored but are
    a sure bet and a waste of time to call EX: Durbin, Schumer, Graham etc
    How many votes do we need for Dream Act to pass?
    A: We need 60 votes
    What should i say when i call?
    A: “Hi, im calling to urge the Senator to support Senators Durbin’s
    amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, called the Dream Act,
    bill number S.774
    How many times should i call? When should i start calling ?
    A: The more you call the better, this is a war against antiimmigrant groups, they will be calling Senators starting tomorow, we cannot allow them to defeat us again. Call all these Senators that are on
    the list several times, if you cant call all of them, call the ones that are marked urgent on the top meaning $$$$, or $$$… Tomorow
    Senate offices open at 8:00 Eastern and close 6:00 Eastern, there are handful offices where they close a bit earlier at 5:30

  • Spencer
    October 24, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Mr. Tancredo is an embarrassment to the Republican Party and America. This legislation is so important to the country. Punishing children because of their parent’s actions is not immigration policy, it’s cruelty.

  • Frank
    October 24, 2007 at 8:12 am

    It isn’t about punishing children for their parents acts, its about not rewarding either of them. Passing of the Dream Act is unfair to our citizen children and legal immigrants and will only encourage more parents to break our immigration laws so that their children can benefit from it.
    Even if it passes the Senate, it is doomed in the House. Time to make a statement that we are not going to tolerate the violation of our immigration laws anymore.

    October 24, 2007 at 8:50 am

    This so called “Dream Act” is another back door attempt to reward amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who have broken our immigration laws. It doesn’t matter if the children came here on the backs of their parents, they are still illegal thanks to the bad decisions made by their parents. Enforcement of all existing immigration laws is not cruelty; it’s the law. All illegal alien students of college age know their situation and some have chosen to do nothing about it. Also, once these children of the Dream Act reach the age of 21, they can then sponsor other members of their family, like their illegal alien parents that brought them here in the first place. That is back door amnesty for millions of people that chose to ignore our immigration laws. Dream Act is too full of loop holes and open to fraudulent misuse and will crash and burn, hopefully.

  • Spencer
    October 24, 2007 at 9:37 am

    “…some have chosen to do nothing about it.” This is the point of the Dream Act, to allow them to do something about it. If you were suggesting they deport themselves, you need to consider the young age many of these kids came here. They don’t know their country home country. They’ve been raised in America and it’s ridiculous to expect them to go live somewhere they haven’t lived since they were toddlers. There are other ways to discourage illegal immigration. The Dream Act applies only to the best; those who have been accepted to a university and have stayed out of trouble. Those are not the people we should be punishing for something their parents did…yes, dare I say we should reward these children.

    October 24, 2007 at 11:27 am

    In the United States of America there is, and has been for many years, a process to gain citizenship. I did not suggest any type of deportation. The Dream Act and it’s supporters are trying to create a back door amnesty not only to the students, but also to any of their relatives in the future. The passage of this bill will bring another wave of illegal aliens being sponsored by those being given amnesty through the Dream Act. The entire bill is so flawed with loop holes and avenues for fraudulent information that almost anyone can apply and recieve the benefits it offers. Read through the entire bill and see for youself that it is not only amnesty for the students but also for millions of non-students.

  • Spencer
    October 24, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Yes, there has been for many years a process to gain citizenship in the USA, but you must remember four important facts: 1. The DREAM Act applies to children who were brought here younger than 16 and at least five years ago so new immigrants wouldn’t benefit. Those it does benefit though, had no real choice in whether they applied and waited for legal status. They were victims of a broken system, not perpetrators. However, while being raised here, they have been exemplary residents, meaning they have been accepted to a university and have a record of proven moral character. 2. The process to apply to become a legal migrant is horrifically broken. It takes years, significant financial resources and great ability to maneuver through red tape. It is unrealistic to think the workers who come here to temporarily escape poverty and to fill our labor shortage for low-skill jobs have the ability and patience to work through the bureaucracies, especially while their children don’t have the food and clothing they need. 3. Without immigration, our population and labor force would be declining. Our economy needs immigrants, and immigrants need our economy. It’s a win-win. 4. This means that if DREAM Act students later legally bring their family here after they have attained citizenship, and a college education, that’s good news! We are a nation of immigrants. I think it would be wonderful if they brought their family here to enrich our culture and nation. America is a melting pot!

    October 24, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    The process was in place to attain legal citizenship no matter how broken it was, some people used it and are now citizens. Lets step through this again. 1. The Dream Act requires little or no documentation to apply for. It is open to fraudulent or counterfeit documents and no process to eliminate illegal aliens that just flat lie about when they got here or how old they were. The entire bill is a back door approach to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, some that deserve it and some that don’t. 2. This horrifically broken process was used by a Vietnamese woman I know and she followed it to the tee. From the first piece of paperwork she filled out, until she set foot in California was a nine year quest. She wanted to be an American citizen and did what was required by law. 3. The need for legal immigrants to help our economy is not the issue. It’s the problem with illegal aliens ignoring our immigration laws that has brought this nation to the verge of a melt down. 4. Didn’t you mean change our culture and overtake our nation? Many years ago immigrants come to this country to be American citizens and assimilate to American lifestyle. They took pride in learning English, throwing off the shackles of their home country and taking allegiance to their new country. All newcomers from everywhere on earth did melt into one pot that formed America. But, today we are a nation divided into pockets of different languages, different cultures and poor, needy illegal aliens looking for a hand out.
    I am pro-legal immigration, but if you are not a citizen, use the system to apply or go to your country of origin and get familiar with it.

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