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Latino Leaders Urge the U.S. Senate to Make the "DREAM Act" a Reality

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Today, a cross-section of distinguished Latino leaders from across the political spectrum, as well as in business, government, public service, entertainment, and sports, sent a letter (below) to the leadership of the U.S. Senate urging them to pass the "DREAM Act," legislation that would allow undocumented youth who have grown up in this country the opportunity to achieve conditional legal status and eventually earn the ability to apply for citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military.

In asking the Senate to approve this measure, the signatories highlight that support for the "DREAM Act" cuts across party lines and rises above politics. Their support also illustrates how near and dear this issue is to Latinos from all walks of life -- it is about realizing the potential of people who came to this country at a young age and stand to contribute to America's future. Their voices echo those of the majority of the American public, which polls show support the measure, and join an overwhelming outpouring of support for the "DREAM Act" from business, military, religious, civil rights, and education leaders from throughout the country.

You can also add your voice to this urgent plea by signing this petition. Join thousands of people across the nation who are calling on U.S. senators to listen to the better angels of their nature and do what is in the best interest of our country. Their vote can affirm the fundamental principle that in America we do not punish innocent children.

December 16, 2010

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:

As Latino leaders in government, business, entertainment, and sports, we urge members of Congress to support the "Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act." This modest and sensible piece of legislation would allow young people who were brought to the United States by their parents at a very young age to pursue higher education or serve in the military.

These students are success stories in their communities, serving as student body presidents, star athletes, and performers, graduating often with honors from schools in their hometowns. Our country benefits immensely from the talent and drive to succeed that they demonstrate. They want the chance to go on to college or serve in the military to continue giving back to the only country they have ever called home.

We know from a recently released study that the students covered under the "DREAM Act" will contribute at least one trillion dollars to the American economy over the course of their lifetimes. Moreover, according to the Congressional Budget Office, enacting the "DREAM Act" would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion dollars over ten years. The intangible benefits of investing in these students' futures, however, are immeasurable.

America cannot afford to lose another generation of young people who stand to contribute to its economic and social prosperity. The beneficiaries of the "DREAM Act" are our future teachers, nurses, and engineers. The U.S. has invested in the education of many of these individuals since kindergarten, and it is only fitting that we enable them to serve and contribute, allowing our nation to reap the benefits. The Latino community is counting on Congress to come together and show its support for the future of these young people and the nation.

Sincerely,

Luis Castillo
Linda Chavez
The Honorable Henry G. Cisneros
Maria Contreras-Sweet
Emilio Estefan
America Ferrera
The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez
Eva Longoria
Monica Lozano
Janet Murguía
Ozomatli
The Honorable Federico F. Peña
The Honorable Bill Richardson
Lionel Sosa
Solomon D. Trujillo
The Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa

Cross posted at www.nclr.org

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