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NEA President applauds reintroduction of DREAM Act in Senate, House

Bill provides path to legal status for undocumented minors

WASHINGTON - May 11, 2011 -

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act will be reintroduced on the floors of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, according to an announcement made in a Senate press conference today. The DREAM Act would provide a path to legal status for young people whose parents brought them to the United States as undocumented children years ago.

“This legislation is a fair, practical solution that upholds the best of our country’s shared values of fairness, accountability, and a strong work ethic,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

Under the DREAM Act, undocumented students must have entered the country when they were 15 or younger and graduated high school or obtained a GED. To receive a green card, the bill requires them to complete two years in the military or two years of college—plus a 10-year waiting period. Only then would they be eligible to apply for citizenship.

 Last December, the bill was derailed by a Senate filibuster. The bill that will be introduced in both houses this year is similar to legislation that passed the House late last year, by a vote of 216 to 198. 

Senate sponsors Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) announced today that the bill will be reintroduced on the Senate floor. Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) will reintroduce the bill in the House.   

“Thank you to Sen. Durbin and all the dedicated co-sponsors in both the Senate and House  who heard the voices of students who have worked hard in school in order to succeed in America—the country they call home,” said Van Roekel.

“Without the DREAM Act, these children will be condemned to live in the shadows of the country they love, surviving in an underground economy where they will be exploited and abused and where their gifts and talents will be lost to our communities – to our country’s future,” said NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen.

“We urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act to allow these students to achieve their dreams and to continue contributing to their communities and society,” added Van Roekel.

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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: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823,