Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09032762 (posted Mar. 27, 2009)"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, March 26, 2009
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.