AILA Welcomes Introduction of the DREAM Act in Congress

Thursday, March 26, 2009
George Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA)
welcomes the introduction today by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and
Richard Lugar (R-IN) and U.S. Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lincoln
Diaz-Balart (R-FL) of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien
Minors Act, commonly known as the DREAM Act. The legislation gives
thousands of young immigrants, who have grown up in the United States
an opportunity to pursue the American dream. The DREAM Act is a humane,
rational solution to a bedeviling problem: a generation of undocumented
kids who are coming of age without any prospects to advance their lot
in life.

“Enabling these educated, young adults to secure legal status is not
only good for them, but also for the communities they live in, and for
America,” said Charles H. Kuck, president of AILA. “The DREAM Act
allows high achieving students, some of the best and the brightest of
the next generation, to receive the chance for higher education or
military service, and the opportunity to contribute to America in a
strikingly productive way. Even in a downturn, our economy continues to
need a highly educated workforce and those willing to serve; those with
more education contribute more to the tax base and the growth of the
U.S. economy.”

AILA believes that the DREAM Act must be a central component of
comprehensive immigration reform. Annually, an estimated 65,000
undocumented young people who have spent their childhoods in America
would be impacted by this important piece of legislation. Undocumented
immigrant children would obtain citizenship by meeting certain
criteria: They must have come to the U.S. before they turned 16, be
under the age of 30, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years,
graduated from high school or passed an equivalency exam, have “good
moral character” and either attend college or enlist in the military
for two years.

“This bill is another sign that the anti-immigration tide is
shifting on Capitol Hill towards an actual fix of broken immigration
system and it renews hope for a push towards comprehensive reform,”
concluded Kuck.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national
association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice,
advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance
the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and
enhance the professional development of its members.

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