Thursday, December 9, 2010

DREAM Act Passes the US House and is Moving On in the US Senate!

Colorado groups are happy with the historic vote and working hard to get the US Senate on board.

Denver, CO - This morning, the United States Senate voted to table the cloture vote on the DREAM Act. Despite what it may seem, this is actually a very positive, strategic decision to buy time to build more support for the DREAM Act.

After the historic vote in the US House of Representatives yesterday, Colorado organizations are redoubling their efforts to get the DREAM Act through the Senate.

“The US House vote was an incredible way to start the DREAM Act on its way,” commented Julien Ross, Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, “ Seeing Republicans buck the party line in order to give youth a chance at their dreams is very encouraging as we move the fight to the Senate. We are hopeful that the Senate, when it votes next week, will take a cue from their House colleagues and pass this important piece of legislation.”

Estevan Flores, PhD, the Executive Director of LARASA, echoed Ross’s comments:“ LARASA, the Latin American Research and Service Agency, is gratified that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the DREAM ACT yesterday. This is the right thing to do morally and economically. We strongly urge the U.S. Senate to pass the bill and ensure that these youth be given the chance to help build our society’s future cultural, social and economic fabric.”

The big winners in yesterday's vote were the Dreamers, who have worked so hard to get DREAM to this point.

"Padres & Jovenes Unidos is proud of being a leader in the youth movement,” said Julieta QuiƱones, an Organizer with Padres & Jovenes Unidos,” It is the youth all over the country who marched, protested, rallied, participated in hunger strikes, made thousands of calls, did sit-ins and got arrested for civil disobedience – that made the vote happen yesterday. We thank the parents of the students for their unconditional support and special thanks to our Senator Michael Bennet for standing up for our students. We will prevail."

The DREAM Act has been introduced in various iterations over the last decade, but this is the first time it has made it through any Congressional body. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been doing everything he can to make sure the Act gets a vote in the Senate before the end of session on December 24th.

"Having known hundreds of undocumented young men and women from my parish, the DREAM Act offers them a tremendous opportunity to be an active member within our society. Their gifts, skills and potential strengthen the fabric of our society. They are truly a great blessing to our society. I'm glad the House made the moral choice to pass the DREAM Act, I pray the Senate follows in the same steps. " Said Fr. Bert Chilsom, St. Therese Catholic Church, MOP Clergy.

Despite the pessimism in the media and among the political elites, immigrant communities of Colorado are optimistic and are working hard to make sure that the DREAM Act becomes law in the near future.

Nita from Longmont, summed up what the youth are feeling:

“ I support the DREAM Act because I do not live in fear and because I want what is fair for everyone. This is not amnesty. These young people must have been here for 5 years and they will have to work for their right to citizenship ... something most of us have never had to do and which we take for granted. These young people will now have a better chance of becoming educated, productive citizens, which adds to the greater good of all. This Act is in the highest good of all.”

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