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AILA Welcomes Introduction of DREAM Act in Congress

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11051160 (posted May. 11, 2011)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras or Jenny Werwa
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7628 gtzamaras@aila.org / jwerwa@aila.org

WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the introduction today by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and many other congressional leaders of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, commonly known as the DREAM Act. The legislation gives thousands of young immigrants who have grown up in the United States an opportunity to pursue the American dream. The DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives last November during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress. While it had majority support in the Senate, it could not win enough votes to overcome procedural hurdles.

"Today's introduction marks a new day for the DREAM Act and the tens of thousands of high achieving young people who would benefit from the bill. This is a new opportunity to get this bill over the finish line and onto the President's desk for his signature," said AILA President David Leopold.

AILA has supported the DREAM Act since its first introduction in the 107th Congress. The legislation would help tens of thousands of undocumented young people who have spent their childhoods in America to obtain legal standing by meeting certain criteria: They must have come to the U.S. before they turned 16, be under the age of 35, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, graduated from high school or passed an equivalency exam, have "good moral character" and either attend college or enlist in the military for two years.

In addition to calling for Congressional action on this legislation that would fix a piece of the immigration system, AILA would also support efforts by the President and Administration to exercise discretion when handling the immigration cases of people who would benefit from the DREAM Act.

"The executive branch has the duty to set priorities in the enforcement of immigration laws, and this Administration has smartly focused on those convicted of serious crimes who threaten public safety. These DREAM kids are not the ones DHS should go after. Let's deport the criminals and keep the students and servicemen here," concluded Leopold.

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