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Kenosha News: Group Pushes for DREAM Act

Posted by: Website Admin on 11/29/2010

BY JON OLSON

jolson@kenoshanews.com

Fourteen members of an interfaith coalition gathered outside Congressman Paul Ryan’s Kenosha office Sunday night in support of the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, a proposal being considered by Congress.

Holding up large red letters that spelled out DREAM Act, members spoke in favor of the act, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to bring before the Senate before the lame-duck session ends.

The vigil — a 20-minute demonstration — was called by Congregations United to Save Humanity, which claims a membership of 10 Kenosha congregations.

Those present Sunday heard informal speeches and prayed in union.

“I think it’s finally time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act,” said Jose Varible.

“We should pray to change the minds” of elected representatives, he said.

Path to citizenship

The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens who entered the country before the age of 16.

Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least five years before enactment of the bill; have graduated from a U.S. high school, received a GED, or been accepted by a college or university; must be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of application; and have “good moral character.”

Those accepted would be granted conditional permanent residency. They would be required to enroll in a college that grants bachelor’s or higher degrees, or enlist in the U.S. military. Candidates would be given six years to complete two years in the college or the military, and then may be eligible to apply for citizenship.

The proposal has received support in the Senate from members of both parties.

‘Secondary citizens’

“We don’t want a whole generation of secondary citizens in this country,” said the Rev. Bill Hayward of Holy Rosary Parish.

He evoked a story from the Gospel of Luke of a young Jesus talking with scholars in the temple.

“Learning took place,” he said, and, in the same way, he asked those present to pray to change minds of those in Congress resistant to the DREAM Act.

He led the group in a prayer spoken in unison for immigration reform.

Pursuing the dream

One person present said he stood to benefit from passage of the DREAM Act, as he came to the United States when he was younger than 16, has a high school diploma, is enrolled in college, and yet is undocumented.

“We’re trying to pass the DREAM Act so we can go on with the American Dream” he said.

Ryan’s office was chosen because it is conveniently located, said Dave Misur, CUSH’s immigration task force chairman.

Ryan’s congressional website does not address the DREAM Act specifically, but in his page on immigration policy it says, “I believe new legislation should require illegal immigrants seeking a green card or citizenship to leave the United States and reapply in their home country. After illegal immigrants have reapplied, their petition would be placed at the ‘back of the line,’ behind all other legal immigrants’ petitions.”


Tags: immigration | cush |
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