Great News About the Dream Act

After 656,991 votes for 7,847 ideas, today Change.org (a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign who are deciding the top 10 ideas for how they think the Obama administration should change America) presented the top 10 ideas for change in America  and one of the TOP TEN IDEAS- out of 7,847 ideas- was to pass the DREAM Act.  For those who don’t know: 

The federal DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), is a bipartisan legislation that would permit these students conditional legal status and eventual citizenship granted that they meet ALL the following requirements:

–if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16, are below the age of 30,

–have lived here continuously for five years,

–graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a GED

–have good moral character with no criminal record and

–attend college or enlist in the military.

For me, personally, this is a very big issue.  I grew up and went to public school in Union City, NJ.  Union City is the most densely populated city in the country, and according to The Brookings Institution, one of the top 100 most economically depressed communities in America.  It’s also a huge Latino immigrant community.  Long story short, several of my friends growing up did not come here legally – but they are kind, brilliant, hard working people who didn’t make the decisions that brought them to the US without papers.  Most of them got by – until college, when the lack of a social security number made securing financial aid impossible.   The DREAM Act would change that

For all of us, this is a huge victory.  Yes, the administration still needs to make this issue a priority, and some top ten list is no guarantee of success.  BUT – it’s a sign that we’re organized and we know how to mobilize.  More than that – we’re involved in our democracy – and that’s what Democracia-USA is all about.  

-Alicia Menendez

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