FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 18, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs
BOARD OF REGENTS URGES PASSAGE OF DREAM ACT
Act Would Help End the Cycle of Poverty for Hundreds of Thousands of Students
The Board of Regents today gave approval to endorse passage of the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Following the approval, Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and State Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King, Jr. sent a letter to New York State’s congressional delegation, urging the delegation’s support for the Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship for undocumented alien minors.
"Right now, no matter how long they’ve lived here or how young they were when their parents brought them here, these students are far too often forced into the shadows of poverty and desperate existence," King said. "The Dream Act opens up a pathway out of the shadows into citizenship and opportunity. New York was built in no small part by the energy and vitality of immigrants. Helping these young New Yorkers achieve legal status doesn’t just help them – it helps build our society, our economy and the future of our state."
"There are hundreds of thousands of students in New York who have been condemned to a life of poverty simply because they were brought to the United States as children," Tisch said. "Their immigration status is determined solely by the status of their parents, and they’re being denied opportunities that the rest of America takes for granted. It makes no sense. It’s an on-going tragedy that not only hurts these students, it hurts our society. The Dream Act will give them the opportunity to go to college, hold jobs and be fully integrated into the fabric of American life as citizens and taxpayers."
It’s estimated that approximately 120,000 K-12 public school students in New York do not have legal status. As a result, they cannot obtain financial assistance for college and are not able to find regular employment, or decent housing.
"With their passage of a resolution supporting the DREAM Act, the New York State Board of Regents does New York proud!" said Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "The Board of Regents sent an important message: that the future of our country depends on helping all our children reach their potential, regardless of immigration status. While other states have gone to great lengths of late to score political points at immigrant children's expense, the New York State's regents promote a positive and inclusive vision that should be echoed across the country. We applaud the Board on passing this resolution today and thank Chancellor Tisch and Commission King for their passionate leadership."
"On behalf of our young immigrant communities across the state, I thank the Commissioner and Board of Regents," said Leticia Alanis, Executive Director of La Union. "Their action today elicits great hope in the hearts of so many young people aspiring to access higher education to serve society without the barriers that their immigration status imposes on them. This call to Congress will benefit all of us by allowing the tremendous potential of hundreds of thousands of young people to thrive and contribute to our nation and ensure our prosperity."
The DREAM Act would apply only to immigrant alien students who came to the U.S. at age 15 or younger at least five years before the date of the bill’s enactment and who have maintained good moral character since entering the U.S. Students would receive conditional permanent resident status when they graduated from a U.S. high school, or earned the GED in the U.S., and went on to attend a U.S. college or serve in the U.S. military. Students would not qualify for this relief if they had committed crimes, were a security risk, or were inadmissible or removable on certain other grounds.
The DREAM Act would enact two major changes in current law:
- It would permit certain immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for temporary legal status and to eventually obtain permanent legal status and become eligible for U.S. citizenship if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military; and
- It would eliminate a federal provision that penalizes states that provide in-state tuition without regard to immigration status.
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New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201