Florida Republican Congressman Introduces Version of DREAM Act

May 31, 2012

Today Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) introduced the Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status (STARS) Act. It is viewed as a Republican version of the DREAM Act and welcomed as a chance to finally pass legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented children. There has been talk for weeks about a similar bill expected to be introduced in the Senate by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

An age cap of 18 years or younger proposed in Rivera's bill sets it apart from the more inclusive DREAM ACT, which would cap the age at 29. The DREAM Act passed the House did not pass the Senate in 2010. Since then all action to provide protection for these children and keep families together has stalled.

In this election year capturing the Hispanic vote is essential so we can expect to see more Republicans stepping up to push for immigration reform. It is not a bad time to let them know of the plight of the LEGAL, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI.

Meanwhile, the Dreamers are appealing to President Obama to use his executive power to protect them from deportation. They publicized their  organized campaign at 19 locations across the country on May 17th and yesterday presented a letter signed by 19 immigration law professors. The letter urged the president to exercise his executive authority to stop deportations.

Rep. Rivera's Floor Speech:
“Thank you Mr. Speaker.

“Many young immigrants have found themselves stuck in limbo due to our failure to address immigration reform.

“Such is the plight of my constituent, Daniela Pelaez, who came here from Colombia with her family when she was four. They overstayed their visas and she has now been ordered deported.

“Next week, Daniela, who is here with us today, will graduate as valedictorian from North Miami High. Having maintained a 6.7 GPA, she has received a full scholarship to Dartmouth University.

“In order to assist students like Daniela, today I am introducing the Studying Toward Adjusted Residency Status or STARS Act.

“The STARS Act would allow undocumented students who arrived here at a young age, graduated from high school and are accepted into a university, to apply for a five-year conditional non-immigrant status.

“During that five year period, they can focus on their college education and once they graduate, have their conditional status extended and work toward achieving residency.

“This legislation can make the American dream a reality for young people like Daniela, who through no fault of their own, are prevented from realizing their full potential in this land of opportunity.

“I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation to help Daniela and others like her who are as American as anyone born in the United States, and who simply need a chance to continue being productive Americans.”


Anonymous said...

I am a dream act kid here in saipan. i was brought here when i was 8 years old, studied elemetary, high school and now a college graduate with an associates degree and a US license to practice nursing.Now im in limbo cause im undocumented. Many clinics and the hospital want to hire me (cw) but they cant cause im undocumented. In fact, i was technicaly told to "self-deport" by an immigration officer when i pleaded for a parole in place. I hope if the dream act passes, i would be included, im 25 yrs old.(I am afriad of ICE aressting due to my status,i wish there are more kids like me who would come out here in saipan like the students who are "undocumented and unafraid" in the States)

Wendy Doromal said...

Hello 9:16

I hope that you are covered too. What is wrong with the US? Have people forgotten their own roots and the fact that we are a nation of immigrants? Best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

key point it would be a non-immigrant visa, meaning no path way to citizenship.....you must be an immigrant to apply for citizenship. non immigrant means just that....here for a set perior of time. in this bill 5 yrs. then find another non-immigrant or immigrant status or leave...... folks in the CNMI don't want to unuderstand that until the law changes it is what it is and you either have a status or don't if you don't or have been deined an application for a status you cannot stay here. USCIS and USICE will work together as they are both DHS... if USCIS was to overlook those who have been denied then why bother adjudicating applications to begin with????? everybody would get what they asked for. they law doesn't work that way. good luck to all in seeking a visa but if you don't get one you gotta go, on your own or wait for DHS to find you then go under an order of deportation your choice.... thems the cold hard facts of how the law is today. maybe change in the future but you live in the now......

Wendy Doromal said...

1:37 USCIS and ICE should follow the policies of the executive office and the most recent call for deportation of criminals only (Morton memo). Every person that is targeted for deportation is allowed a hearing and should demand one. Any person who has lived in the CNMI for decades should be given parole-in-place until such time as the US Congress enacts laws to protect such people as the legal, long-term foreign workers, the widow and widowers of US CItizens, the CNMI permanent residents, the foreign born children of immigrants...

The current guest worker programs in the CNMI and in the US are extremely flawed, not humane, and are un-American. I don't see positive change in the near future because the members of Congress make excuses for why they cannot act. They sit around pointing fingers at each other and are more intent on re-elections than on bettering our nation.

Anonymous said...

In regards to 9:16, I am curious, does this person have any kind of passport? A birth certificate?
If no passport, how can they self deport?

I know a certain lady that is about 40+ now and is a "stateless person".
Do these "stateless" people have any kind of birth certificate of being born on Saipan?
I have not seen nor talked to her in a long time so don't know how this Fed take over has affected her.Prior she was employed.
Are these "stateless persons" now prohibited to work?
They cannot travel, so how does that work out?

If nothing else these people such as the one above and the "stateless" should be presented in their own bill or something by Kilili.(or why can't a Fed Immigration Judge be able to take that up)

Anonymous said...

i agree with your take on COngress. even this stars act won't get through. the mere introducing it gets these folks in congress to appear they are doing something. whether or not they are serious they don't care it looks like they are doing something. the reality is nothing will be done in the next couple of years even longer if the republicans win and the economy continues to stall. As to the CNMI the intent of the CNRA is to wean the CNMI off of a foreign work force. Hopefully those eligible for a real status under current law will get one but parole in place isn't a status and won't go beyond the transition period. I think most agree a bill will not pass congress in that timeframe. so best to start planning......

the teacher said...

I would like to see this bill pass but there is no path to citizenship and the age restrictions aren't very inclusive either. This is much like Kilili's bill in that it will help many many people but not everybody.

And 10:26 may be right that this is vote garnering politics and may not pass. Either way, it doesn't change the situation for most NMI workers.

Wendy Doromal said...

Hi Ron (7:43) Yes, the age limits are too restrictive. It is not at all like Kilili's bill! First the people addressed in Kilili's bill are LEGAL. Secondly, only 1/4 of the legal foreign workers in his bill are even covered. Thirdly, Kilili's bill offers a second-class status that continues disenfranchisement and restricts travel, where as this bill is a pathway to citizenship.

I heard Kilili is introducing a bill that would address status only for the people in the first three categories of his original bill. (Those born in the Northern Mariana Islands between January 1, 1974, and January 9, 1978; CNMI permanent residents as defined in section 4303 of Title 3 of the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Code, and those who are spouses or children of the first two categories.) The foreign contract workers are not even mentioned. If this is true, I can only say so much for following the intent of the CNRA. The 112th Congress will go down in history as the worst-ever do-nothing Congress!

Jaleel said...

Great post, very good video