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DREAM Act: USCCB Justice for Immigrants promotes outreach to Congress for passage in 2010

A press release posted on the Green Bay Diocese website:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the passage of the DREAM Act during the current "lame duck" session of Congress.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the DREAM Act on Wednesday, December 15. National Catholic leaders are asking all Catholics to support the DREAM Act by using its Web site to contact their legislators (also includes information on the bill and immigration).

Senate Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama have also publicly stated their support for passage of the DREAM Act before December 31, 2010.

Creating a pathway
If enacted, the DREAM Act would create a pathway through which undocumented immigrant students could obtain conditional permanent residency and, ultimately, American citizenship. Under the legislation, certain students would be eligible for conditional permanent residency if they meet certain criteria, including:

•entering the United States before age 16
•living in the U.S. for at least five continuous years immediately before the bill becomes effective
•graduating from high school or gaining admission into an institute of higher education
•having "good moral character" and not having committed certain crimes
•being younger than 35 when the bill becomes effective
•demonstrate that they have not been under a final order for deportation

After a six year period of conditional permanent residency, these individuals could apply for citizenship if they:

•had continued to demonstrate "good moral character"
•continued to live in the U.S.
•completed at least two years of higher education or served at least two years in the military
Strong bipartisan support

The DREAM Act has always had strong bipartisan support, and the U.S. Catholic bishops have been long standing supporters of the legislation.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, co-adjutor archbishop of Los Angeles and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, recently reaffirmed USCCB support for the legislation, stating that passage of the bill was "the right thing to do."

The DREAM Act would make a difference in the lives of undocumented youth who were brought to the United States by their parents and now, because of their lack of legal status, face obstacles to their future.

By removing such barriers, the DREAM Act permits immigrant students to pursue a promising future through college education or military service. Those benefiting from the DREAM Act are talented, intelligent and dedicated young people who know only the U.S. as their home.

More information
DREAM Act: www.justiceforimmigrants.org/learn-issues.html

Br. Steve Herro, O.Praem.
Phone: (920) 272-8299 or 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8299
E-mail: sherro@gbdioc.org

Leah Gabrielson
Phone: (920) 272-8209 or 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8209
E-mail: lgabrielson@gbdioc.org

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