Two Takes on the DREAM Act

dream act

Photo credit: Mike Rhodes (Support the Dream Act Rally in Fresno, CA, 11.19.10)

If election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, letís at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. - President Obama, State of the Union Address, Jan. 24, 2012

The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) is an American legislative proposal first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001 and most recently reintroduced there on May 11, 2011. The bill would provide conditional permanent residency to certain illegal aliens of good moral character who graduate from US high schools, arrived in the US as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning, they would obtain temporary residency for a six year period. Within the six year period, they may qualify if they have "acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or has completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor's degree or higher degree in the United States" or have "served in the armed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, has received an honorable discharge."

It is estimated that each year, 65,000 young people graduate from high school in the U.S. who find themselves unable to work, join the military or go to college because of their immigration status. Approximately 800,000 young people would be eligible for the DREAM Act upon passage.

Here are two videos—two takes—on a bill that once had bipartisan support but has now beomce contentious, swept up in the larger debate about immigration reform.

Working with the award-winning Media Enterprise Alliance, an Oakland-based group dedicated to youth voice, immigrant high school seniors at Oakland International High School produced the first video, "Americans at Heart: the DREAM Act." At the time they made the film, the California General Assembly was considering a law that woul grant illegal immigrants access to state aid at public universities and colleges. On October 11, 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California DREAM Act. The other video shows Mitt Romney recently re-affirming his opposition to the federal DREAM Act.

Learn more about the federal DREAM Act at www.america'

Read Huff Post Teen essay, "California Dream Act: 'As an Undocumented Immigrant, It's Unfair that My Hard Work Might Not Lead to College'"



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