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What happens to a dream deferred?:

New hopes for Immigrant Students with the introduction of Dream Act amendment in Senate

by Marisol Ramos

After the collapse of the debate for comprehensive immigration reform this past June in the Senate floor, many immigrant families, activist and politicians witnessed their decade's long efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, that will offer both a path to legalization and enforce national security, pushed back indefinately. While members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have reintroduced the Strive Act, there are very little prospects for a comprehensive immigration bill to pass until after the elections. Still, piece meal provisions like AgJobs and the Dream Act, which have garnered strong and unprecedented bipartisan support, can provide both initial relief and real solutions to this country's broken immigration system.

Most notably, through the ardous efforts of Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the DREAM Act, which will be reintroduced as an amendment to a Department of Defense bill H.R 1585 this week, is an example of a sensible solution to the plight of undocumented youth living in this country. The Dream Act, if enacted into law, would offer a 6 year path to legalization for undocumented youth who came to this country before their 16th birthday and have since graduated from high school and are enrolled in college or in the military. Although the amendment will need a critical 60 votes so that it can be aproved in the Senate and enter committee for debate, it provides a bright ray of hope for millions of undocumented youth who live in this country.

Every year over 65,000 students graduate from high school with very little hope to pursue their dreams. Many of these students, who aspire to develop their careers by pursuing a higher education, find the doors of professional development and opportunities closed to them despite their talents, leadership and exemplary service to their communities. Most recently, the case of Juan Gomez, a bright and promising young student, has drawn national attention to the plight of millions of talented youth whose potential is being wasted each day without any real solutions being offered. The Dream Act will change that reality.

Without any comprehensive immigration reform bill in place, and with thousands of state and local "enforcement bills" sprouting across the country, offering misinformed and uneffective legislative measures to address illegal immigration, the DREAM Act is both a humane and sensible solution that will bring immigrant children and young adults out of the shadows and provide a first step towards a future extensive debate about comprehensive immigration reform.

The dreams of millions of youth cannot be deferred any longer. The urgency of the lives of millions of immigrant youth who wait patiently to fulfill their aspirations requires support. By calling your Senators indicating your support of the Dream Act amendment in the bill H.R. 1585, the dreams and aspirations of immigrant youth who have grown up all their lives in this country and have contributed so greatly will now flourish if the DREAM Act is enacted into law.

About The Author

Marisol Ramos is a core member of the New York State Youth Leadership Council. For more information, please contact the New York State Youth Leadership Council at (212) 627-2227 ext. 248 or visit their website at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.