HISTORY MADE! Immigration bill represents big step for DREAMer students, their families


by Félix Pérez

A day that has been decades in the making — that has eluded generations of DREAMer students, their families and aspiring citizens — has finally arrived. The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate today that would modernize the nation’s immigration system.

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The legislation comes less than a week after a historic rally in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol that drew educators, students, families, religious leaders, community groups and elected officials from across the nation.

DREAMers, children and young adults who were brought to this country at a young age and have been raised and educated in the United States, are singled out in the bill for an expedited and practical path to citizenship.

Arizona math teacher Dennis Van Roekel called the bill “a step in the right direction.” Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, added:

The proposal rightly reflects our moral values and robust tradition as a nation of immigrants . We commend the senators for making the centerpiece of the bill a clear and inclusive roadmap for aspiring Americans to become citizens. We also appreciate their commitment to keep families together and to expedite the process for citizenship for DREAMers. We agree that efficient, fair, and effective avenues for legal, family-based immigration are vital to keeping America strong.

Immigration reform supporters cautioned that the filing of the bill is the beginning of what will likely be a months-long legislative process. These supporters said the same energy and activism from DREAMers, educators and immigrant supporters that resulted in the Gang of Eight’s legislation will have to continue to carry the bill to passage.

Caution notwithstanding, educators such as Kari Johnson, of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, are savoring the significant step forward on behalf of their students. “As an educator, my dream for my students is to achieve their dreams and be successful in whatever they choose to do,” said Johnson, who attended last week’s immigration rally and met with members of Congress. “No matter if a child was born here in the United States or in a different country, they’re still our children . . . I just want them to know that I am on their side, and I want to help them in whatever way I can.”

Reader Comments

  1. Why did your ancestors come to this County? At one time, my great grandparents and grandparents came from another country. Granted, they were legal aliens by choice in leaving their ancestral land for a better place (or so they thought). They wanted to give their future descendants an opportunity for a better life, education, freedom. They worked hard at menial and backbreaking jobs that this generation cannot do.
    If the illegals become legal, they can start paying into the social security system. How about those elderly immigrants from other countries who come to America, produce American children and their children receive social security benefits because their parent is grandpa’s age? Sucking our resources..
    The color of America is no longer predominantly white but yellow, brown, red, white, black. It is now the way of the future.
    If our ancestors did not come here, would there be a United States of America? Change is hard but for those illegal immigrants to risk themselves to come here is worth the risk. Perhaps, once the illegals across the border become legal, we can save our resources by no longer building walls across miles of unforsaken territory between borders and staffing the borders which turns out to be a futile effort.
    One day, we will have a Hispanic president. Whoever thought that we would have a president of mixed ethnicity (white/black) a few years ago? It was unheard of.

    The statements above are my opinion based on my family’s history. Would I want to go back to the old country? I don’t think so though we, too, have been discriminated in this country.

  2. Rewarding people in this manner degrades the millions of legal immigrants that did things properly, followed the rules, completed all paperwork, and waited their turns. These people don’t need to worry about e-verify or being deported. I can’t imagine that there are a lot of teachers that see this as fair legislation or can comfortably stand behind this effort!

    1. It has not passed. It is being presented to the Senate first for passage, and then the House for their consideration and passage, which I pray does not occur.

    2. Why would you make such a stupid comment? You don’t think that people who were brought here by no choice of their own should be cared for. How about if I told you to return to you childhood home where you were born and start over. Could you do it?
      I couldn’t. Have some damn mercy!

  3. This is a beautiful thing. Thank you for going to bat for our families! As an educator, I see a lot of ELL children. Their families work hard to make a good life here in this country. I am excited to have this bill to help hem with citizenship. We are all in this together!

    1. No, we are NOT in this together. If you want more resources and funding for legal children, then those here illegally must leave. This allows legal Americans to go back to work in order to pay taxes, lessening the burden on the social safety nets currently in place. It also reduces by some 11 million or more people who are also a drain on this system.

  4. Any bill that gives amnesty to people above the age of 18, who entered the country illegally I am against. There does need to be changes but it needs to be fair and balanced. IF the first thing u did is to enter this country illegally you are a criminal and should return whence u came. Children are more difficult because they do not have a choice, but it needs to be up to them to prove when they came and we need to make sure it is the truth. Peopel from all countries should be give the same opportunity not just a select few as it is right now, Also we need to fix the problem of people coming here just to have babies born here so they r automatic citizens it is not right.

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