HNBA National Campaign for Passage of the DREAM Act
Welcome to the HNBA DREAM page, where you can join our grassroots campaign to support the DREAM Act in the states, sign a petition in support of the Act, write your members of Congress, and get background information and news!
HNBA and the DREAM ACT
Historically, the HNBA has led an active campaign for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (“DREAM”) Act. In September 2010, Senator Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced the DREAM Act in Congress. HNBA then launched its interactive advocacy campaign for the DREAM Act and called on its members to participate. In addition, HNBA issued a letter calling for a cloture vote.
On June 28, 2011, Senator Durbin chaired the first-ever U.S. Senate Hearing on the DREAM Act. The HNBA submitted written testimony outlining the legal, economic, and national security arguments that demonstrate the case for DREAM, along with a petition signed by over 1,000 HNBA members and supporters in favor of passage. Committee staff called the HNBA testimony the most comprehensive testimony received.
After the hearing, a special graduation ceremony took place for the DREAMers at the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Senate Russell building. More than 200 DREAMers filled the caucus room to participate in the ceremony.
MODEL RESOLUTION CAMPAIGN
The HNBA is launching a new effort to pass a model resolution in all state legislatures. The model resolution urges Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
- You can access the model resolution here.
- Talking points for the model resolution are available here.
Our grassroots campaign to lobby state legislatures in support of the DREAM Act is intended for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. You can review the information on this webpage to become familiar with the DREAM Act and its history. Download the model resolution and its talking points and review them in detail to use them as your lobbying tools. To get started, you should:
- Identify your local state legislators. You can find your local state legislators through the National Conference of State Legislatures.
- Research your state legislators to identify ones who would support the model resolution.
- Determine whether your state legislator or the state legislature has any policies in place for lobbying that must be followed.
- Consider obtaining group support for your efforts, such as from voluntary bar associations in your state or other groups.
- Consider using media, either local or state press or social media, to spread your message.
HBA-DC, an HNBA Affiliate, through its advocacy secured the unanimous approval by the DC Council of the DREAM Model Resolution. The DC Council approved the resolution on December 19, 2012. The District of Columbia Council is thus the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to pass the HNBA initiative model resolution. For details of HBA-DC and MALDEF testimony before the DC Council and the text of the resolution, see the DREAM Act Resources section below. See the DREAM Act News Archive below for details of the HBA-DC December 19, 2012 press release.
DREAM ACT PARTNERS
HNBA has partnered in this campaign with other organizations that advocate for the DREAM Act. Our partners are:
- The DRM Capitol Group: http://drmcapitolgroup.com/.
- LatinoJustice PRLDEF: http://latinojustice.org/.
- League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC): http://www.lulac.org/.
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF): http://www.maldef.org/.
Sign the DREAM Act Petition
Sign HNBA’s national DREAM Act petition here.
Thank you if you have already signed out petition, which has been ongoing since 2010.
(Clicking the above link will open a window for you to sign our petition. Please note that by submitting your information, you are permitting us to use your name and email address for internal purposes related to the DREAM Act Campaign. This includes sending updates and other online communication. We will not share your email address with any third parties.)
Write your legislators
After you sign the DREAM petition, you can take action by writing your legislators. You can learn how by clicking here.
BACKGROUND on the DREAM ACT
History and Benefits
Every year, approximately 65,000 high school students finish high school and are unable to pursue their dreams of going to college, enrolling in the military, or getting a job simply because they are undocumented. The DREAM Act was first introduced as bipartisan legislation in 2001.
The DREAM Act provides conditional permanent residency to undocumented immigrants who enroll in college or serve in the military. After meeting a set of requirements, including completion of at least two years of college or military service, the conditional status could be converted to full-fledged resident status. Full-fledged resident status is a prerequisite for obtaining U.S. citizenship. The two year college or military requirement could be met in a variety of ways, including attending community or vocational school or service in the National Guard.
If the DREAM Act were passed, the undocumented youth who would benefit from the DREAM Act would generate an estimated $1.4 trillion to $3.6 trillion in income over a forty-year period. At the same time that the DREAM Act would boost the earnings of the recipients of the Act, it would also reduce the cost of criminal justice and social services to taxpayers. The DREAM Act would reduce deficits by about $2.2 billion from 2011 through 2020.
See: Immigration Policy Center, The Dream Act: Creating Opportunities for Immigrant Students and Supporting the U.S. Economy (May 18, 2011).
See also: Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 6497 Cost Estimate (Dec. 2010).
The DREAM Act should not be confused with other proposals that have surfaced in the last year. In January 2012, Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) introduced the ARMS Act, which would require military service as a condition for obtaining permanent resident status. In order to qualify for the ARMS Act, the applicant must be under the age of thirty and they would receive nonimmigrant status for five years. The nonimmigrant status may be renewed if the applicant has completed at least two years of active duty military service or four years of reserve duty. During the five year extension, beneficiaries may have their status adjusted to that of a permanent resident.
In May 2012, Rep. Rivera also introduced the STARS Act, which would permit undocumented students to become permanent residents if they complete a four-year degree, provided that they were generally under the age of 19 at the time of application. The nonimmigrant status lasts for five years and may be renewed for an additional five-year period if the applicant graduates from a four-year college or university. Three years after the five-year extension is granted, the beneficiary may have their status adjusted to that of a permanent resident.
Neither the AMRS Act nor the STARS Act present the benefits of the DREAM Act. More information on how the DREAM Act compares with other proposals can be found here: “A Comparison of the DREAM Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth.”
The Executive Branch Deferred Action Policy
On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that certain youth who entered the U.S prior to age 16 will no longer be selected for removal from the U.S. Qualifying individuals will be granted “deferred action” for a period of two years and are therefore eligible to apply for a work permit. Applications are not available at this time. More information, including a consumer advisory from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, can be found here: “AILA Consumer Advisory on Deferred Action.”
Texas, California, Utah, New York, Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Rhode Island have enacted their own legislation that provides undocumented with in-state tuition if they graduate from state high schools, have two to three years residence in the state, and apply to a state college or university. The student may be required to sign an affidavit promising to seek legal immigration status. These requirements for undocumented students are stricter than the residency requirements for out-of-state students to gain in-state tuition. For more information about actions States have taken in relation to the DREAM Act, read In-State Tuition and Unauthorized Immigrant Students.
View DREAM-related photos on our HNBA Facebook page
DREAM ACT RESOURCES
- Read HNBA’s Testimony submitted for Senate Hearing on the DREAM Act here.
- Exhibit 1: Plyler v. Doe
- Exhibit 2: Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
- Exhibit 3: UCLA Report “No DREAMers Left Behind – The Economic Potential of DREAM Act Beneficiaries”
- Exhibit 4 - part 1; part 2: A Disturbing Trend in Law School Diversity, Columbia University School of Law and SALT
- Exhibit 5: Migration Policy Institute “DREAM vs. Reality: An Analysis of Potential DREAM Act Beneficiaries”
- Exhibit 6: HNBA DREAM Act Petition
DREAM ACT TEAM
You may e-mail HNBA members Maria G. Mendoza, Fernando Rivero, Claudine Martinez, or HNBA Vice President for External Affairs Celeste Villareal for more information on the DREAM Act model resolution campaign.
The HNBA thanks HBA-DC for assistance in developing the model resolution
DEFERRED ACTION RESOURCES