The DREAM Act
The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act
Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. A majority of them have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live their American story. However, approximately 65,000 youth are not able to do so. They cannot drive, cannot work legally, cannot further their education, nor can they pay taxes to contribute to the economy, simply because they were brought to this country illegally by their parents or they lost their legal status along the way. These youth have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives. The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation, pioneered by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Illinois's own Senator Richard Durbin (D). Under its provisions, eligible undocumented youth would qualify for a six-year-long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service. The CHRC offers its continued support of the Act as it works its way through Congress. On Wednesday, December 8th, 2010, the DREAM Act passed in the House.
In July 2014, the CHRC gathered an interdisciplinary team of experts representing the fields of social work, child welfare, law, child development, and psychology to provide a research-informed response via a letter to leaders of the White House and Congress. The CHRC sent a letter to the White House, leaders of US House and Senate, Illinois Congressional representatives, ranking members of Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Appropriations Committees, and co-sponsors of two bills that were recently introduced. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Collaborating faculty were Dr. Julia Pryce (SOSW), Anita Weinberg, JD, MSW (SOL), Dr. James Garbarino (CAS), and Dr. Katherine Tyson McCrea (SOSW). CHRC student children’s rights fellows, Jeanne Murray and Jade Gary, also provided critical research support and communication with external partners.
We’d like to thank our colleagues, Maria Woltjen, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, Sarah Diaz, DePaul University Asylum & Immigration Clinic, Dr. Bradley Stolbach, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Trauma-Informed Care for Youth Injured by Violence Project, for their thoughtful input and review. Read the letter here, CHRC Responds to Children at the Border.
Read more about the Statement in support of the DREAM Act written and signed by six of Illinois' University Presidents including Loyola's President Garanzini here: Illinois University Presidents' Statement in Support of the DREAM Act.
Read the Immigration Reform Letter signed by Catholic College Presidents calling for immigration reform with a path to citizenship here: Immigration Reform Letter.
2013 UPDATE: Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine becomes the first medical school in the nation to announce that it is accepting applications for admission from undocumented immigrants in response to President Barack Obama’s DACA program.
2012: Obama Administration Plan to Stop Deportations of DREAM Act Youth
The Center for the Human Rights of Children continues to support the DREAM Act. As such, the CHRC commends President Barack Obama’s announcement on June 16, 2012, which halts removal proceedings for eligible DREAM Act-eligible immigrant children. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, those who demonstrate that they meet certain criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action and protected from removal proceedings for a period of two years, subject to renewal. It provides discretionary relief to approximately 800,000 young adults who were brought to this country at a young age, with or without their consent. It also allows them to work legally, to provide for themselves and their families, and to contribute to the U.S. via tax revenue. This does not constitute the comprehensive, original DREAM Act, but is still a promising motion toward advancing the rights and protections of undocumented immigrant youth.