Odds are, if you are a mom, you're one of the 72 percent of women in the United States who support the DREAM Act.
But we want to know why.
First, a quick refresher: The DREAM Act is short for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. Currently, undocumented immigrant children who were brought to the U.S. at a young age and have grown up here have no way to become legal citizens and fully contribute to society. Upon graduating from high school, these children face an uncertain future, including barriers to college and risk of deportation to a country they often no longer remember. The DREAM Act would address this problem.
If passed, the DREAM Act would provide approximately 800,000 young adults with the opportunity to work legally without fear of deportation and ultimately earn permanent legal resident status if they meet certain requirements. These requirements include needing to show that they came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, lived here for at least five consecutive years prior to the bill's enactment, be of "good moral character," earned a high school diploma or GED, and completed at least two years of college or military service.
The legislation could also prove to be a boost to our economy. A soon to be released study by the UCLA North American Integration and Development Center finds that the estimated 800,000 youth legalized through the DREAM ACT will potentially generate $1.38 trillion dollars over their work-life. (2)
Not surprisingly, a large majority of Americans support the DREAM Act including 80 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans, according to a poll conducted by First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy organization.(3)
In spite of such widespread support, our elected representatives in Congress are pretty much sleepwalking on this issue.
Versions of the DREAM Act have been introduced into Congress, either alone or as part of larger legislation for the past nine years. And yet still Congress has failed to act.
What's it going to take?
How about moms flexing their political muscles? Let's tell Congress that as moms, we think it's long overdue for them to wake up and do the right thing by these children and young adults.
Our elected representatives need to listen to mothers like Elaine Lindelef who says: "No good can come from the U.S. deporting hardworking, talented, devoted kids who grew up here, regardless of where they are from."
Congress should also listen to Fiorenza Comunian whose daughter studied alongside undocumented students at UCLA: "They pay full tuition and they have proven they have the will and determination required to succeed. Granting them a path to citizenship will be an investment in this country's future and an act of compassion that benefits everybody."
Now, tell us, why do YOU support the DREAM Act ?
MomsRising, a million member advocacy organization, wants to hear from you. Simply complete this statement:
"I'm a mom and I support the DREAM Act because______________________."
Then send your statement to Dream@momsrising.org. You can sign your first name and identify your state, or you can sign 'anonymous' and we will honor that. You can also drop us your comment below.
With these mom-quotes, we'll tell our elected leaders it's time to stop snoozing, sleepwalking and stalling. Moms across the country want our representatives in D.C. to wake up and make the DREAM possible for all children in our nation.
Footnotes 1 & 3: "Public Support for the Dream Act," a public opinion survey commissioned by First Focus, June 2010: . For more information, contact Wendy Cervantes, Senior Director of Child and Family Immigrant Policy, WendyC@firstfocus.net.
Footnote 2: Statement provided with permission from NAID founder and director Dr. Raul Hinojosa. For more information, contact Tolu Olubunmi, a consultant with First Focus, firstname.lastname@example.org .
This blog is part of the Peaceful Revolution series that explores innovative ideas to strengthen America's families through public policies, business practices, and cultural change. Done in collaboration with MomsRising.org, read a new post here each week.