Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The DREAM Act Is Essential for Our Country's Future

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid announced that he plans to attach one of the immigration reform measures that would assist undocumented students to the Defense Authorization Bill to be voted on the week of September 20th.

The Catholic Church in our country has long favored passage of the Development,Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Passage of the Act would offer a pathway to legal residency and eventual citizenship for undocumented children and young people who were brought to our country by their parents. Many of these youth came as young as one year old and have known no other country except the United States.

If these undocumented young people attend a college or university, or join the military, they become eligible to begin down the pathway to full legal status.

I have met with enthusiastic young men and women who graduate from a college or university here in Los Angeles, but because they lack legal papers, they cannot find employment. The same is true of these young people who join a branch of the military. That makes no sense whatsoever.

I met recently a young man who just graduated from a major university in Los Angeles with his degree in engineering. He is so anxious to put his education and skills at the service of our country and our community, but lacks legal residency papers.

What a waste of the gifts and talents of these young people all across the country.

The DREAM Act is not amnesty. Rather, it is the recognition that in our midst are many young people who only know one country: the United States. And they want to contribute to building up our country.

I urge all the members of the U.S. Senate to see how the DREAM Act will genuinely benefit our country, and to vote for its passage next week.

To hear some stories from these young people, please visit the website below: