DREAM Act Updates – June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011

Hispanic National Bar Association Submits Testimony for First-Ever Senate Judiciary Committee
Hearing on the DREAM Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Assistant Senate Majority Leader U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) chairs the first-ever U.S. Senate Hearing on the DREAM Act before the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.  Witnesses include The Honorable Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC; The Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC; Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, DC; Lieutenant Colonel Margaret Stock, U.S. Army Reserves Retired, Anchorage, AK; and Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, DC.

Since it was first introduced in 2001 by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the DREAM Act has enjoyed consistent bipartisan support; it is a common sense proposal that offers talented young people who came to the United States as minors a chance to earn legal status and a path to citizenship – if they meet a set of stringent criteria and attend college or enroll in the U.S. military.  In the 111th Congress, the HNBA enacted its first ever issue action campaign in support of DREAM, and the DREAM Act fell just five votes short of becoming law, passing the House with bipartisan support and winning 55 votes in the Senate.  In the 112th Congress, the DREAM Act has been introduced by a bi-partisan group of Representatives in the House and by Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

HNBA submitted written testimony outlining the legal and economic arguments that demonstrate the case for DREAM.  In attendance at today’s hearing is Claudine Martinez, HNBA National Vice President of External Affairs, Zuraya Tapia-Hadley, HNBA Executive Director, and Lizett Rodriguez, HNBA 2011 Summer Intern.  The testimony is accompanied by a petition signed by over 1,000 HNBA members in favor of immediate passage of the DREAM Act. Diana Sen, HNBA National President, stated, “The DREAM Act is a necessary step that would provide American students the opportunity to continue studying in, or fighting for, the only country they have ever known with a legitimate path to U.S. citizenship. Our country needs its passage to ensure the United States will be more militarily and financially secure as a result of the invaluable contribution that these DREAMERS will provide to their fellow Americans.”  Over 400 DREAMers arrived to Washington, DC from all over the country to attend the hearing and are being housed by St. Stephens and the Incarnation Episcopal Church.  “Sitting alongside these persevering, courageous DREAMers, listening to the testimony of Secretary Duncan and Napolitano, brings into full focus the reality that America must not squander the exceptional talent these DREAMers provide our country,” said Claudine Martinez, HNBA Vice President of External Affairs.  For live updates on the DREAM Act hearing, follow us at twitter.com/HNBANews.

Watch the DREAMers enter the Senate Hearing:

Pictures from the Hearing coming soon!