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“American DREAM” Act Introduced in House

By April 24, 2006No Comments

For Immediate Release                        Contacts:         Eun Sook Lee, NAKASEC, 323-937-3703
April 7, 2006                                                 Yu Soung Mun, YKASEC, 718-460-5600
                                                         Becky Belcore, KRCC, 773-506-9158
                                                           Dae Joong Yoon, KRC, 323-937-3718

The “American DREAM” Act Introduction Offers
All Students a Chance at Higher Education

[Los Angeles] On April 6, 2006, Representatives Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced the bi-partisan “American DREAM Act.”  Its companion bill, the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act was introduced in the Senate on November 18, 2005 and is included in the immigration bill currently being considered by the Senate.  If passed, the “American DREAM Act” would provide undocumented students a chance to pursue higher education and obtain legal status while allowing states to determine their own rules of residency for in-state tuition eligibility.

Eun Sook Lee, executive director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium applauded the bill’s re-introduction, “With leadership and courage, Representatives Diaz-Balart, Berman, and Roybal-Allard have re-introduced an important bill that gives hope to the 1.7 million undocumented children of this country.  The “American DREAM Act,” if enacted, would provide tremendous opportunity for all of our nation’s young people to reach their full potential and to become our future leaders.”  

“Every year, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools.  In the case of the Korean American community, 1 in 5 is undocumented, which includes a significant percentage under 18 years of age,” Becky Belcore, executive director of the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (Chicago, IL) said, “These young people have grown up in the United States but face barriers to higher education and employment opportunities. Without access to financial aid or, in many cases, in-state tuition, it is difficult for undocumented students to attend college. Those who do graduate are unlikely to find jobs in their field of choice.  Moreover these young people live in constant fear of being deported to a country they do not consider their home.”

“I believe that every student deserves an education,” Eunice Lee, a student leader from Los Angeles, California said, “The “American DREAM Act” opens up new roads of opportunity for young people. Education and good jobs should be available to everyone in this nation, regardless of immigration status.”

In light of the recent contentious and controversial debates in Congress, Yu Soung Mun, executive director of YKASEC-Empowering the Korean American Community (Flushing, NY) stated, “This bill reaches far beyond the politicized battlefield of the immigration debate. The “American DREAM Act” is about providing fair educational opportunities and a chance for all of our young people to contribute to society. We urge the Members of Congress to put politics aside and take much-needed action for the sake of our children.”

“NAKASEC and its affiliates are committed to the passage of this critical bill and will continue to engage our youth to take leadership in the student legalization movement,” Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of the Korean Resource Center (Los Angeles, CA) added, “For more than five years, young people have been in the forefront organizing their peers, community leaders, and other allies for passage of the bill.  Until these students are afforded the same treatment as their native born peers, they will continue to work to create the change they deserve.”