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Latino Daily News

Saturday December 18, 2010

Hispanically Speaking News Statement on Defeat of the DREAM Act

After a heated debate on the Senate floor, the Senate today defeated passage of the DREAM Act. The vote today came 3 votes short of passage, with three Republicans supporting the measure.

Hispanically Speaking News expresses sincere disappointment in the Senators who voted against passage of the DREAM Act which would allow young people, brought to this country at a young age by their parents, to continue on with their education and receive conditional lawful permanent resident status.

“This is devastating,” said Maria S. Pesqueira, President and CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción.  “What we saw this morning was a failure of political courage.  It is so clear they rather criminalize innocent youth than to break party lines.

“We need to keep fighting as the dream was closer than ever. The DREAM ACT has been denied but the desire of students to contribute to this country has not.”

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for youth who graduated from US high schools, show good moral character, arrived to the US before the age of 16, and completed at least 2 years of college or serve in the armed forces.  Every year, 65,000 students graduate from a U.S. high school without the realistic possibility of following their dreams.  These students grew up here and want to contribute to this country.

Senator Dick Durbin, the chief Sponsor of the DREAM Act for the past ten years gave a heartfelt speech on the Senate floor on behalf of the DREAM Act.

“These children’s lives hang in the balance. For them this vote can’t come too soon.  I am not just asking for a vote on the DREAM Act. I am asking for more. I am asking for an act of political courage. The cause of justice is worth the political risk.”

Hispanically Speaking News supports the DREAM Act because Latinas have the lowest level of formal education among women of all racial groups.  As a result, they face the greatest disadvantage regarding high skilled employment opportunities. Further, non-U.S. citizen adult Latinas have higher unemployment rates, lower education levels, lower average incomes, and are more occupationally concentrated than Latina U.S. citizens.

Congress must invest in common sense solutions to reform our broken immigration system.