Today, Senate Republicans mounted a successful block of HR 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act, which included the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act as an amendment. The DREAM Act would provide certain undocumented youth with the opportunity to earn their legal status through a college education or military service.
“Currently, these students, many of whom grow up in the United States and only learn of their undocumented status when applying for college, have no place to turn after graduating from high school, regardless of their abilities or aspirations,” said United States Student Association (USSA) President Lindsay McCluskey. “Thanks to obstructionist Senators, this archaic policy will remain law for now. However, young people nationwide will not stop organizing and advocating for immigrant justice until the DREAM Act becomes law.
Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school but are financially barred from attending college. As a result, a viscous cycle of poverty sweeps many into a lifetime of exploitative work and little pay.
After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proclaimed that the Senate will “vote on the DREAM Act, it’s only a matter of when.” USSA, representing over four million college students nationwide, both documented and not, takes heart with Senator Reid’s comments and calls on the Senate to take further action on the DREAM Act. Young people across the country will continue to fight for this piece of legislation and the inherent right of everyone to pursue a higher education.