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USCCB News Release Archives

 
10-227
December 03, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. Catholic Bishops to Congress:  The Dream Act is the ‘Right Thing to Do’


WASHINGTON (December 3, 2010)—In a letter to Congress December 2, Coadjutor Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, called on Congress to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), calling it “the right thing to do.”

“With the passage of the DREAM Act, we can welcome a new generation of Americans who will one day become leaders of our nation,” wrote Archbishop Gomez.

The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for thousands of young persons without legal status who were brought to the United States as children by their parents. Under the legislation, young people who complete two years of higher education or two years of military service would be eligible for legal permanent residence and eventual citizenship.

“It is important to note that these young persons entered the United States with their parents at a young age, and therefore did not enter without inspection on their own volition. We would all do the same thing in a similar situation,” Archbishop Gomez said. “They have incredible talent and energy and are awaiting a chance to fully contribute their talents to our nation. We would be foolhardy to deny them that chance.”

The USCCB has long supported the DREAM Act, as well as comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration system.

“There are times when a proposal should be enacted because, simply put, it is the right thing to do.  This is one of them,” the Archbishop said.  “The DREAM Act represents a practical, fair, and compassionate solution for thousands of young persons who simply want to reach their God-given potential and contribute to the well-being of our nation.”

Full text of the letter follows.

 December 2, 2010

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I write to express our support for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).  This legislation would make a difference in the lives of undocumented youth who were brought to the United States by their parents and now, because of their lack of legal status, face obstacles to their future.  By removing such barriers, the DREAM Act permits immigrant students to pursue a promising future through college education or military service.

Those who would benefit from the DREAM Act are talented, intelligent, and dedicated young persons who know only the United States as their home.   They can become some of the future leaders of our country, provided we are wise enough to provide them the opportunity to pursue their dreams. 

Under the DREAM Act, deserving immigrant youth can adjust to permanent resident status provided that they entered the United States before age sixteen, have been physically present in the United States for not less than five years, demonstrated good moral character, have no criminal record and do not threaten national security, and have earned their high school diploma.  This bill also offers students a fair opportunity to earn U.S. citizenship if they commit to and complete at least two years of college or two years of honorable service in the military. 

Importantly, this legislation will apply to students in both public and private education, including those attending Catholic schools.

It is important to note that these young persons entered the United States with their parents at a young age, and therefore did not enter without inspection on their own volition. We would all do the same thing in a similar situation. The United States is the only country that they know.  They have incredible talent and energy and are awaiting a chance to fully contribute their talents to our nation. We would be foolhardy to deny them that chance.

With the passage of the DREAM Act, we can welcome a new generation of Americans who one day will become the leaders of our nation. There are times when a proposal should be enacted because, simply put, it is the right thing to do. This is one of them.

The DREAM Act represents a practical, fair, and compassionate solution for thousands of young persons in our nation who simply want to reach their God-given potential and contribute to the well-being of our nation. I urge you to support this measure and call for its immediate enactment.

Sincerely,

                                                           
Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez
Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration

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Keywords: DREAM Act, immigration reform, students, youth, Congress, Archbishop José Gomez, Migration and Refugee Services, MRS, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB

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