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AILA Press Release: Bipartisan DREAM Act Introduced in Senate

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03080443 (posted Aug. 4, 2003)"

American Immigration Lawyers Association

For Immediate Release
Contact: Julia Hendrix
(202) 216-2404
jhendrix@aila.org

August 1, 2003    

MEASURE INTRODUCED TODAY BRINGS HOPE TO DESERVING KIDS
AILA Praises Introduction of Bipartisan DREAM Act

The Senate today took an important step toward helping deserving children reach their potential and our nation gain innumerable benefits with the introduction of S. 1545, the bipartisan DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2003). 

“Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) should be praised for a job well done. As students across the country prepare for college, we need to make sure that deserving children are not left behind,” said Palma Yanni, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. 

The DREAM Act reverses a short-sighted and harmful 1996 federal law that denies States the right to determine who qualifies for in-state tuition.  This bill returns to the States their authority to make such determinations.  The bill also would legalize the status of those young people who meet certain criteria, including having good moral character and having lived in the U.S. for at least five years preceding the Act’s passage.

“Such reform works for children and works for America,” said Yanni. “The DREAM Act recognizes that children must be able to continue their education, and legalize their status, to contribute openly and wholeheartedly to this country.  These children were raised in the U.S., have integrated into their communities, and have graduated from high school, yet are now unable to continue their education without a change in federal law. Such a change is long overdue,” added Yanni.

While AILA commends Senators Hatch and Durbin for their strong leadership and significant bipartisan efforts, we strongly urge them to amend several provisions of the bill that will lead to inappropriate denials and bureaucratic delays.  We look forward to working with the Senators on improving these sections of the bill. 

With the introduction of the DREAM Act, the Senate has joined the House in seeking a remedy for deserving children. Representatives Chris Cannon (R-UT), Howard Berman (D-CA), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced the Student Adjustment Act, H.R. 1684, on April 9.  “Members of both Houses of Congress are now on record,” said Yanni.  “By providing the opportunity for these children to go to college and gain legal status, America will not only strengthen its economic foundation by creating a more educated work force, but also introduce a measure of justice and fairness to our immigration system.  We urge the House and Senate to pass the DREAM Act quickly and the President to sign into law this worthy bill.”

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Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides its Members with continuing legal education, information, and professional services. AILA advocates before Congress and the Administration and provides liaison with the INS and other government agencies. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.

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