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Letter to the Senate supporting the DREAM Act

July 16, 2007

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to  support the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S. 774), scheduled for floor consideration this week. This important bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Hagel (R-NE), and Lugar (R-IN), will allow states to offer in-state tuition and other higher education benefits to talented students with undocumented immigration status. Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

Each year, over 50,000 undocumented students who have lived in the United States for at least five years graduate from U.S. high schools. Among these students are class valedictorians, straight-A students, and idealistic youth committed to bettering their communities. Yet, current federal law restricts states' ability to provide in-state tuition or higher education assistance to these students, who often have no recourse to regularize their immigration status. As a result, many such students are unable to pursue higher education and many drop out of high school because they know they will be unable to continue on to college. The loss to these students, and to society as a whole, is significant.

The DREAM Act will allow states to determine their own residency rules, thereby permitting them to offer in-state tuition and higher education benefits to undocumented students. In addition, the bill will allow undocumented students who have lived in the United States for at least five years and demonstrate good moral character to obtain special immigration relief.

Again, we urge your support for this important legislation. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy