Now that the Presidential election is over, now is the time to move forward at once with one major piece of unfinished Congressional business: pass the DREAM Act so that 1.6 million of our young people can obtain legal status in the only country they have really known.
There was an attempt in December of 2010 to pass the DREAM Act, and while it passed the House of Representatives, it only got 55 votes in the Senate. Sixty votes were needed to halt a filibuster against the DREAM Act.
President Obama: on Election night you proclaimed once again your commitment for real immigration reform. Now is the time to move that agenda forward. Begin with our young men and women who are in college and who are serving in our military. Your DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] program is a small step in the right direction. But it does not have the permanency nor the security of Federal legal residence status.
Some say that nothing effective can be accomplished during a Lame Duck session of Congress. I don't believe that. There is never a wrong time to accomplish good and positive legislation.
I urge everyone who is committed to bringing our immigrant brothers and sisters out from the shadows and from exploitation to email your Senators and House members--the ones who are serving now, and implore them to help support the passage of the DREAM Act.
When the new Congress convenes in January of 2013, the President must offer them a comprehensive immigration reform package, and take the leadership to get it passed. A good place to start is to look to the McCain--Kennedy comprehensive plan of 2001--which enjoyed broad bipartisan support.
Leaving some 11 million people in our country in the shadows and in fear is a shameful and immoral situation.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to welcome the strangers in our midst, and in so doing, to discover the face of Jesus in each one of them.
May God's grace be abundant among us so that we will come to see our immigrants as a great value for our country, not as a threat.