UnidosUS Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan “DREAM Act” in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC—Yesterday, Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–FL) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D–CA) co-introduced the “DREAM Act” in the House of Representatives. The bill would allow young immigrants brought to the country as small children the opportunity to earn permanent residency and ultimately American citizenship. Today, many DREAMers are shielded under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, but the Trump White House has indicated the policy stands on shaky ground, causing many of these young people to live in fear of deportation. A Senate version of the bill was introduced last week by Senators Dick Durbin (D–IL) and Lindsey Graham (R–SC).

“This bipartisan effort lead by Representatives Ros-Lehtinen and Roybal-Allard to help young DREAMers remain in the country they love and have contributed to with their talents and hard work, should be applauded. At perhaps the most partisan and politically divisive time in modern history, it is encouraging to see members of both parties working together to do what is right by these young people and what’s in the best interests of our country,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “DACA youth are an integral part of our communities—they are doctors, students, engineers and educators, and their contributions are impactful, in fact, estimates show that ending DACA would result in an estimated GDP loss of $433.4 billion over the next 10 years.”

The “DREAM Act” would provide a pathway toward lawful permanent residency to those who came to the United States as children and have been longtime residents. Under this bill, youth would be required to show they meet certain educational requirements, that they have worked lawfully for at least three years, or served in the military. In addition, they would need to pass security and police background checks.

“We are hopeful the ‘DREAM Act’ will be successful and finally provide these young people with permanent immigration status that will allow them to go on with their lives free of fear and enable them to realize their full potential,” Murguía added.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers at the national and local levels. For almost 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.