Event Highlights End of Educational Dreams for Immigrant Students

American Immigration Lawyers Association

April 20, 2004
Contact: Julia Hendrix (202) 216-2404

April 20th Event Highlights End of Educational Dreams for Immigrant Students

On April 20th, elected officials and hundreds of students and advocates from around the country held a rally at the U.S. Capitol in support of the DREAM Act, S. 1545, and the Student Adjustment Act, H.R. 1684. After the rally, a mock graduation ceremony was held where a representative of the Department of Education was given over 65,000 signed petitions urging President Bush to support the legislation. This 65,000 figure mirrors the approximate number of children who will graduate from U.S. high schools this year and will be, without passage of the DREAM Act/Student Adjustment Act, denied the ability to go to continue their education. These children, who were raised in the U.S. and who have overcome considerable obstacles, will be denied the opportunity to follow their dreams and continue their education after graduation due to inflexible federal immigration laws. Our country cannot afford to lose the economic and social contributions these children have to offer.

The DREAM Act/Student Adjustment Act would remedy this situation by eliminating a 1996 federal restriction that discourages states from providing in-state tuition to these students. The legislation also would provide a mechanism to allow immigrant students who have spent their formative years in the U.S. and have good moral character to apply for legal residency.

The DREAM Act/Student Adjustment Act enjoys bipartisan support because it is in our national interest to eliminate roadblocks in the way of children fulfilling their potential. The Student Adjustment Act was introduced by Representatives Chris Cannon (R-UT), Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) on April 9, 2003. The DREAM Act was introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) on July 31, 2003. The DREAM Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a strong 16-3 bipartisan vote in October, 2003. The bill currently awaits a vote on the Senate floor. The Student Adjustment Act awaits House Judiciary Committee action.

"These bills recognize that by denying these children the opportunity to continue their education and legalize their status, we deny them the means to contribute to society. These are kids of great character and our communities cannot afford to lose these desperately needed role models," said John Estrella, AILA's Senior Policy Associate.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) strongly supports the passage of this bipartisan legislation that provides deserving students with an opportunity to apply for legal status and continue their education, and urges Congress and the Administration to support a measure worthy of these deserving children. The dreams of these children should not end at high school graduation. By providing the opportunity for these children to go to college and gain legal status, America will both strengthen its economic foundation by creating a more educated work force and introduce justice and fairness to our immigration system.


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 DHS and other government agencies. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.

American Immigration Lawyers Association
918 F Street NW, Washington, DC, 20004-1400
Phone (202) 216-2400; Fax (202) 783-7853 www.aila.org

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 04042166.