HIAS Deeply Disappointed with Failure of Congress to Enact Dream Act

Posted on Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 11:31 am

(New York, NY) – HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, is deeply disappointed at today’s failure to vote “yes” on the cloture vote to enable the passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in this Congress. If passed, the DREAM Act would have provided a six-year path to a green card for undocumented children brought to the U.S. more than five years ago if they graduate from high school and continue on to college or military service.

According to Gideon Aronoff, President & CEO of HIAS: “By defeating today’s cloture vote, Congress has failed an entire generation of undocumented immigrant youth who only want to contribute to this country by becoming citizens.

“Our Jewish religious and ethical traditions and core American values command us to ‘welcome the stranger.’ Yet beneficiaries of the DREAM Act are really not strangers. Not only are these young people already actively part of America, but America is a part of them. They have attended American schools and come of age in the United States. They watch American television and listen to American music, celebrate American holidays, and speak English – in sum, they are American. The idea of sending them to a country where they haven’t lived for most of their lives is as impractical as it is inhumane.

“In the wake of today’s failure, HIAS urges Congress to find a way to encourage – and not stand in the way of – these hardworking young people who just want to build productive futures and contribute to America . We are deeply concerned for their future in the absence of just and fair legislation.”

The DREAM Act would have helped break the cycle of underemployment, instability, and poverty endured by undocumented immigrants and could have reduce dropout rates, criminal justice costs, and the need for public assistance. It would have also rewarded good behavior by young people who, despite their circumstances, have worked hard and remained in school.