On Thursday, February 23, 2006, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced that she will once again become a co-sponsor to the “Development, Relief, and Education Act for Alien Minors Act” (introduced in the Senate on November 18, 2005).
“We are pleased to hear Senator Feinstein’s continued support of the DREAM Act,” Eun Sook Lee, executive director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium said, “Her involvement in this issue is great news to students and to our communities. The Senator’s support is particularly important as California is a state made of immigrants and immigrant students are a critical part of our state and nation’s future.”
If passed, the DREAM Act will undoubtedly open up doors that were previously shut to undocumented students. As Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of the Korean Resource Center explains, “Each year, 65,000 talented and gifted youth graduate from U.S. high schools and face insurmountable barriers to achieve their goals of higher education and legal employment. It is our obligation as a society that all young people should be given a fair and equal chance at higher education and employment opportunities.”
Please find the attached press release from Senator Dianne Feinstein:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Howard Gantman or Scott Gerber
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Senator Feinstein to Co-Sponsor DREAM Act
– Legislation would remove barriers to education for many young immigrants –
Washington DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she will sign on as a co-sponsor of “The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act,” which would provide qualified undocumented high school students who wish to attend college or serve in the armed forces an opportunity to adjust to a lawful status and pursue these goals.
The legislation, known as “The DREAM Act” is sponsored by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).
“The DREAM Act offers bright and highly motivated students a real incentive to become responsible and valued members of our society,” Senator Feinstein said. “I believe it is in the national interest to provide talented students who have clearly embraced the American dream the incentive to take the path toward being a responsible, contributing, law abiding member in our civic society. And this bill would give undocumented high school students who wish to attend college or serve in the armed forces an opportunity to adjust to a lawful status and pursue these goals.”
Specifically, The DREAM Act would:
· Provide undocumented students the opportunity to gain conditional permanent resident status provided they:
(a) have lived in the United States for at least 5 years and were under the age of 16 at the time of entry;
(b) have graduated from high school or have been accepted to a college or institution of higher education;
(c) are of good moral character;
(d) are not deportable on account of a criminal conviction, alien smuggling or document fraud.
· Permit undocumented students to convert their conditional status to that of a lawful permanent resident provided that they do one of the following:
(a) obtain a diploma from a junior college or trade school;
(b) complete at least two years of a bachelor’s or graduate program;
(c) join the Armed Forces and if discharged, be honorably discharged; or
(d) perform part or full time volunteer community service under the direction of the USA Freedom Corps or with an entity eligible to receive funds from the Combined Federal Campaign.
To become a lawful permanent resident, the applicants must remain persons of good moral character, not be a public charge during the period of conditional residence, or violate any of the criteria initially required to obtain conditional resident status.
In California, many of the students who would benefit from the legislation are children of parents who have already been granted amnesty and are waiting for their adjustment of status applications to be adjudicated. Others are children of migrant farm workers. The majority of the students consider California their home and are expected to become citizens.
“The DREAM Act does not offer amnesty, nor is it an entitlement,” Senator Feinstein said. “I believe we should give these talented students a chance to succeed.”