The DREAM Act needs widespread support and the voice of President Hart.
During spring break, students with a dream will come out of the shadows.
March 10 is declared “National Coming Out of the Shadows Day” by the Immigrant and Youth Justice League for undocumented youth who want to claim their United States citizenship with or without immigration papers.
Though the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act failed in the Senate in a December 2010 55-41 vote, it would have allowed undocumented students who entered the U.S. before age 16 an opportunity to attain a green card.
But as Angelo Fichera reports in “Derailed DREAM Act fuels student voice for immigration,” Page 1, there is something missing from the support system undocumented students like Pamela Salazar need at Temple.
President Ann Weaver Hart’s recognition has been silent regarding the rights for students at the university she oversees. These students could lose out on an education every person in the U.S. has a right to.
President Rebecca Chopp of Swarthmore College and President Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania both wrote letters in support of the DREAM Act approximately a year ago, before the DREAM Act was shot down in the Senate. Hart made no such effort, despite the presence of students who could have benefited from the passage of the act at Temple.
However, we cite our own faults at The Temple News. We have not made the DREAM Act a relevant topic in the pages of our newspaper or online, nor have we pressured Hart to voice support.
But the probability of the DREAM Act being re-introduced within the next few years is high. The bill fell by eight votes in the Senate in 2007, and by 2010, it fell by just five.
While it is not fair to undocumented immigrants to have to continually wait to gain access to jobs or an education they deserve, the DREAM Act will see the Senate floor again.
Hart should be active now. The members of Temple for a DREAM and other undocumented students at the university deserve to be backed by their president.
“Right now these young people have no legal rights, although they did not enter the United States by their own choosing,” Gutmann wrote in a letter to Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), then-Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and former State Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.). “This bill’s intention is … to ensure that no child in America is denied their dream of a better life if they are willing to work for it.”
It seems lofty in Gutmann’s eloquent words, but it is simply practical for this bill to be re-enacted. By that time, Hart should have already made a statement voicing her support for students.