Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, other Asian American groups applaud Sen. Dick Durbin, Reps. Howard Berman and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for their leadership on a bill that would help thousands of youth earn legal status
WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“ The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice commends U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-FL) for reintroducing the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). The DREAM Act would allow young people a path to legal immigration status by meeting strict requirements, including completing two years of college or serving two years in the military.
â€œWe applaud Senator Durbin and Representatives Berman and Ros-Lehtinen for their committed leadership on this issue,â€ said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. â€œThese young people are American in every sense except for paperwork, and passing the DREAM Act is just the first step in fixing our outdated immigration system.â€
â€œIâ€™m about to graduate from college with a degree I canâ€™t even use if the Dream Act doesnâ€™t pass soon,â€™â€™ said Catherine, a 22-year-old undocumented Filipina San Francisco Bay Area resident. â€œAll I want to do is give back to the community I call home; I canâ€™t even remember my life back in the Philippines.â€
An estimated 65,000 students graduate from a U.S. high school every year without legal immigration status, many of whom are Asian Americans. â€œWe are seeing more Asian American and Pacific Islander students get caught up in our broken immigration system,â€ said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. â€œIt doesnâ€™t make sense for us to deport these young people when they have been an integral part of the fabric of our society.â€
Last December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act and a majority of U.S. Senators approved it, but the measure was just five votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. â€œThis bill has a long history of broad bi-partisan support and it would be a disappointment to see this common-sense bill get lost in party politics,â€ said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute.
â€œWe need lasting immigration reforms for our country and we hope the Obama administration will show leadership and provide much needed administrative relief for these young people,â€ said Titi Liu, executive director of the Asian Law Caucus.