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NEA welcomes bipartisan legislation to fix flaw in immigration system

Education is the key to achieving the American DREAM

WASHINGTON - March 31, 2009 -

The U.S. Senate and House introduced the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), bipartisan legislation that would fix an outdated immigration system and create a pathway to legal permanent resident status for young people who immigrated to the United States from another country , have played by the rules and are of sound moral character. Among other obligations, the legislation would require beneficiaries to graduate from high school, attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years. If the beneficiary meets all of the conditions outlined by the proposed legislation at the end of the six-year conditional period, he or she would receive permanent residency, and, eventually, become a U.S. citizen.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“We believe every student deserves the opportunity to prosper and succeed. But under the current, outdated immigration system, undocumented children of immigrants who grew up in this country and who call America home are being deprived of such opportunity. Creating a pathway to citizenship for thousands of young people is fair and should be expected from a country with one of the most robust immigrant histories in the world.

“We are pleased that the proposed legislation places education front and center as a necessary requirement on the path to success for these young people who have lived in this country for most of their lives. We believe education remains the key ingredient for these people to realize their full potential and achieve the American dream. Giving every child the opportunity to prosper and succeed will ensure that America can compete in a 21st century economy.

“We welcome the bipartisan effort in Congress to allow students who graduate from American high schools an opportunity to achieve their dream and contribute to their communities and society.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez
(202) 822-7823,