September 21, 2010
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
Urging Senate To Support DREAM Act Amendment
WASHINGTON—College shouldn’t be just a dream, it should be a reality for all qualified students, including immigrants. Demographics—whether it’s a student’s background or birthplace—should not determine a student’s destiny. Each year, about 65,000 undocumented immigrant students, who were brought to this country at a young age by their parents, receive their diplomas from American high schools, but their immigration status bars them from opportunities that make a college education affordable. The American Federation of Teachers has long supported the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to allow qualified students who come to the United States before the age of 16 to gain permanent legal status if they earn an associate degree or two years toward a bachelor’s degree, or if they complete two years of military service. The AFT strongly urges the U.S. Senate this week to support the DREAM Act by adding it as an amendment to the defense authorization bill.
The DREAM Act will empower these motivated students, who have worked hard to attain a high school degree, to continue on the road to fulfilling the American dream.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.