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Dreams of Students on Brink of Becoming Reality
On September 14, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S. 729) will be voted on as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, as early as next week. Today, he is expected to file a motion to proceed, which will start the first of three votes needed to attach the legislation to the military spending bill.
NAKASEC and our centers, Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles and Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago, welcome the latest developments and will do all that we can at this critical moment in our youth organizing history to make sure that the dreams of millions of students and families are realized.
“At first, fear drove me to withdraw into the shadows of society. But, it was my peers, pride in who I was and longing to contribute, which made me step up and take my dreams into my own hands,” says Angela Kim, member of KRC’s youth group, Alliance of Korean American Students In Action.
The momentum for immigrant rights sparked by Senator Reid’s announcement was further propelled in Washington D.C. on September 15, when Congressional Hispanic Caucus members Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) unveiled a three-prong legislative strategy for immigration reform in the fall. The strategy includes: 1) a push for the passage of the DREAM Act, 2) introduction of a new comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate and 3) pressing the White House to provide administrative relief, including the repeal of 287(g) and deportations.
Seconds Hye Joo Kim, member of Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity, KRCC’s youth leadership council, “We won’t stop with the DREAM Act. We will continue the struggle until all of our family members and workers in our community are treated with dignity and respect, and a comprehensive immigration reform bill is passed.”
“This is only the beginning. We are seizing the moment with the DREAM Act and we look forward to seeing Senator Durbin move on its passage with Senator Reid. Senator Durbin has been a tireless champion for many years and our Korean American youth in Chicago have personally shared their stories with him on numerous occasions,” says Sik Son, executive director of KRCC.
First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act would open up opportunities for young people raised in the U.S. who continue facing and overcoming multiple barriers and are seeking to contribute fully to their communities. It would grant a path to legal status to those who have graduated from high school, have good moral character and plan to attend college or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years.