DREAM Act Reintroduced

Rally to support the DREAM Act, 2010  Photo by W. L. Doromal
May 14, 2011

There are many excuses for not introducing long overdue legislation that would grant the legal, long-term CNMI nonresident workers green cards and a pathway to citizenship. The reality is that too many elected leaders are more concerned with getting re-elected than in doing what is right. As long as they think (not know, think) that the voters don't want the nonresident workers to gain political or social rights they will tiptoe around the issues and continue the excuses instead of introducing comprehensive legislation that reflects American values and democratic ideals.  As long as they think that their constituents won't re-elect them if they support legislation that would give a voice to the voiceless legal nonresident workers, they will work to keep them in their current status, which is one small step up from slavery –– a disenfranchised majority.

At least some elected officials recognize that they are in office not to advance their political careers, but to serve the people and the country and to advance the principles on which our country was founded. On Thursday Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) was joined by Reps. Howard Berman (D-California), Luis Guittierez (D-Illinois), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) in reintroducing the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.

The bill passed the U.S. House last year, but died in a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate just five votes short of the total needed to pass.

Under the legislation nonresidents could get legal status if:
  • They came to the United States when they were 15 or younger and have had a continuous presence in the states for at least five years;
  • They have good moral character;
  • They graduated from high school or obtained a GED;
  • They completed two years of college or military service in good standing.
Senator Durbin stated:
Our immigration laws prevent thousands of young people from fully contributing to our nation's future. These young people ... are American in every sense except their technical legal status. ...These children are tomorrow's doctors, nurses, teachers, policemen, firefighters, soldiers and senators, and we should give them the opportunity to reach their full potential."
One person who serves as an example of why our country should pass the DREAM Act is Anglelica Hernandez. She is this year's valedictorian at Arizona State University and she is an undocumented alien. She moved from Mexico to the United States with her mother and sister when she was 9-years-old to reunite with her father who was working in Arizona. She is just one of hundreds of thousands who would be given a chance for U.S. citizenship if the bill passes.

H.R. 2709, The Reuniting Families Act, H.R. was introduced on May 8, 2011 by Rep. Mike Honda (D-California). The bill was introduced to keep all families together and includes a provision that would protect bi-national, same-sex couples and would allow for gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States. CNMI Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan co-sponsored this legislation.

The legislation addresses some critical issues by proposing to:
  • Recapture family and work visas that have gone unused and unclaimed due to bureaucratic delay;
  • Reduce the long backlog for families trying to reunite with their loved ones by classifying lawful permanent resident spouses and children as “immediate relatives” and exempting them from numerical caps on family immigration;
  • Increase per-country limits from 7% to 10% so that nations with a higher demand for workers can better equip the American economy with talent;
  • Allow families to reunite in the face of numerous hardships, including family separation and death of a petitioner;
  • Provide equal treatment for all stepchildren and biological children under immigration laws
  • Recognize the sacrifices of our military by exempting children of World War II Filipino veterans from numerical caps; and
  • Allow family members to reunite despite bars to reentry.
Commenting on the legislation, Rep. Mike Honda, (D-California) stated:
“It’s to also tell our citizens and those with legal permanent resident status to be part of the movement for a comprehensive package for everyone in this country. I’d like to make sure that we just go through the arc once and just fix all the holes and make sure that this thing we call immigration system … is a better vessel for people that we’re trying to care of.”

Until comprehensive immigration reform can be passed, Honda called on Obama to issue a moratorium to stop the deportation of foreign nationals in same-sex unions who would eligible for married-based green cards if not for the Defense of Marriage Act.

“The president has at his disposal certain kinds of statutory existing powers that he can stay a deportation process,” Honda said. “He can put in a place a situation where folks will be held in abeyance and allowed to work and allowed to continue their lives until such time that we correct our immigration system.
Meanwhile the debate about granting lass than 16,000 LEGAL nonresidents of the CNMI green cards and a pathway to citizenship continues.


Anonymous said...

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is Republican.

Wendy Doromal said...

Thanks! Yes, Like Marco Rubio!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a dream. It will continue to be a dream. Hey, I have an idea. Why don't all of the illegal aliens, including the Arizona state student, set an example by filing the necesary paperwork to apply for a green card. I guess it's just easier to cheat, lie and steal your way into America. Why not, millions of people do it. And look, she can be a role model for all her brothers and sisters living on the other side of the fence. "Come on guys. Just sneak over and you to can become a star student at a University. These gringos don't have a clue what to do with us". Also, Wendy, I am surprised that you even mentioned the CW here as they are legal residents. As I have said before the US is going to do what it always does in dealing with immigration issues...nothing. Here they will wait until the economy knocks off most of the workers and then when there are about 1K-2K left they might do something to allow them to at least stay in the CNMI long term. Yeah, the regulations will be out 'soon'. Riiiiight. I bet they don't even have the regs out by November (OK, October) Keep this post and see if I am wrong.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 8:45 Yes, you are wrong -wrong on so many levels.