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Letter to the Senate on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

June 11, 2013

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we urge your support for commonsense immigration reform as the Senate considers the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744).  NEA applauds the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan effort to bring this historic bill to the Senate floor and we encourage an efficient, timely, and transparent process leading up to a Senate vote on the bill. Please note that votes associated with this bill may be included in NEA’s Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress.   

The time is now to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  Educators applaud S.744 for addressing key priorities critical to their students and families – including a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million aspiring Americans, ensuring and promoting family unity, and inclusion of the DREAM Act. 

Immigration policy profoundly impacts NEA members and their students. Educators have witnessed for far too long the impact that the current immigration system has had on students, their families, and communities. Educators see aspiring Americans every day in their classrooms and schools. They are friends and neighbors. They moved here to put food on the table, to provide for their families, or for the promise of freedom and opportunity in this country. We are all better for having these hardworking aspiring Americans as contributing members of our communities.

In addition, we strongly believe an expedited pathway to citizenship for our country’s youngest aspiring Americans, Little Dreamers, must be included. The “Little Dreamer” amendment to be offered by Senator Blumenthal ensures that children under the age of 13 are eligible for a 5 year expedited pathway to citizenship, and are not relegated to the 13 year pathway to citizenship simply because of their age. A 5 year pathway to citizenship for Little Dreamers would put them on par with their older brothers and sisters, who may be eligible for the 5 year expedited pathway under the Dream Act, and ensures equity within families. Little Dreamers deserve to come out from the shadows and not live in fear and should be afforded the hope to call this country home.   

Educators welcome the most serious plan to fix our nation’s broken immigration system in years.  We strongly support passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, and look forward to continuing to work with you and your staff as modifications to the legislation are made.  Ultimately, we strongly urge you to pass this landmark bill. 

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations