Entries in DREAM Act (4)


No Driver's Licenses for Iowa 'DREAMers'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- DREAMers -- thousands of undocumented people given a repreive from deportation by President Obama before the 2012 election -- will not be awarded driver's licenses in Iowa.

The state's Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it will not issue licenses or state identification cards to any of the illegal immigrants.

While some states, including California, Florida and Nevada, have said they will issue licenses, others, including Nebraska, Arizona and Michigan, have announced they will not.

Some groups, such as the National Immigration Law Center, have argued that deferred action recipients are eligible for licenses because they are eligible for work permits. But some states have countered that, because deferred action does not confer legal status upon recipients, state law prevents them from receiving licenses.

"The Iowa DOT understands the exercising of this prosecutorial discretion by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security does not grant lawful status or a lawful immigration path to persons granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status," the department said in a statement. "Rather, it is prosecutorial discretion extended in a blanket fashion to persons who are not lawfully authorized to be present in the United States."

The Department of Homeland Security has said repeatedly that each state is responsible for determining whether to award driver's licenses.

Immigrants' rights organizations have filed suits in several states. In Michigan, several groups, including the National Immigration Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a suit against Republican Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson last week for blocking licenses for DREAMers.

According to the Des Moines Register, some Iowa deferred action recipients have already received driver's licenses. One young man told the paper he was granted deferred action in October and issued a license a short time later after he passed the written and practical exams.

Paul Trombino, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said he knows of only one license and one non-operator identification card that have been issued so far. Those will no longer be valid and will have to be returned, he said.

The deferred action policy has drawn criticism from some Republican lawmakers in Iowa, including Representative Steve King and Senator Chuck Grassley, who have called it an overreach of executive power.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


DREAM Act Advocates Cheer Obama Speech

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Although the typical partisan sniping on Capitol Hill was just getting started in Washington before President Obama’s statement Friday afternoon, a few blocks from the White House young undocumented immigrants watched the speech beaming with joy and pride in America.

Following the president’s speech there was a touching emotional moment as Gaby Pacheco, a 27-year-old DREAM Act advocate, stood and let out a sigh of relief and then spoke from the heart before the group which had assembled at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  

Pacheco praised volunteers and workers and singled out Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who revealed last year that he was an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times essay.

Vargas is featured on the cover of this week’s Time Magazine with other undocumented immigrants in a story titled, “We are Americans.”

Pacheco has lived in the United States for two decades, arriving in Miami with her family from Ecuador.  She plans to become a doctor.

“When we have the Time magazine article that shows our beautiful faces, an array, men, women people from all over the world … representing people that want to be psychologists and doctors and dancers and artists, saying give us a chance. Today we are finally free.” Pacheco said.

“We’ve been in this golden cage and the door has been opened and now it’s our chance to be free. But with that comes a responsibility, because this not forever, this is temporary.” Pacheco said.

“With that comes the responsibility to our parents … because our parents gave everything to come to this nation. Our parents did everything, they left behind their family, their language, their careers, everything they knew to give us an opportunity. To give us that American dream that everybody comes to this Nation seeking,” Pacheco told the crowd of DREAM Act advocates.

“We have a responsibility to our friends, to our family members who have been left out. My sister who is over the age of 30, she is a dreamer. And we have a responsibility to her,” Pacheco said, referencing the age limit of undocumented immigrants being given deportation relief if they are younger than 30 and have no criminal record.

Directing remarks to her friend, 31-year old Jose Antonio Vargas, Gaby continued, “We have a responsibility to a man that made this possible. We have a responsibility to him and to this nation to continue fighting. We are going to celebrate today.”

“Because this is the power that our community has. We can no longer be ignored … this is a new chapter in the history of this country. This is a very historic moment and we have to embrace it and celebrate it and thank those that made it possible,” she said with tears in her eyes.

“This is not over, this is the beginning of a great new chapter in our lives.  I am going to continue personally my education. I going to be Dr. Pacheco,” she said as the room cheered for her.

Looking to the future and the American dream Pacheco said, “You’ll see from this group of people future congressmen, future senators, and maybe we’ll challenge the constitution and maybe get a future President … because we believe in this nation and we believe this is our country and we believe that we have a lot to give and our talents to give back. But we want to thank those that made it possible.”

Speaking to Vargas she said, “You have redefined America, you have … and we thank you for everything,” she said before hugging Vargas.

Vargas who is 31 and is not covered by Friday’s announcement, wiped the tears from his eyes and said, “she was the first person I told before the New York Times essay last summer … ”

Vargas who noted in the Time article that quietly trying to live in America, while working as a journalist weighed on him. “I carried your heart with me… I carried it… we’ve been through a lot together, there is a lot more to do because this is not complete. And together this is beyond politics, this is beyond partisanship, this is about doing the right thing.”

“I thank you for your leadership and I think you for your sacrifices and thank you for welcoming me,” Vargas told the group.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California 'Dream Act' Will Help Cover Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, California) -- Illegal immigrants will be able to apply for financial aid and merit-based scholarships to help pay their way through California's public colleges and universities, now that Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend signed the state's groundbreaking and controversial Dream Act, which ramps up existing allowances for the students in question.

Since 2001, California law has extended in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants as long as they have attended a California high school for at least three years, earned a high school diploma or GED and have proof that they are working to obtain citizenship.  Under rules newly signed by Brown, beginning Jan. 1, 2012, illegal immigrants can apply for and receive scholarships derived from non-state funds and, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, for financial aid partially comprised of state funds.

"The future of California's economy depends on the ability of these students to graduate, to perform well and to contribute.  This creates an opportunity," Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, a Democrat from Los Angeles who sponsored the 2012 measure, told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV.

Dream Act supporters have said they also will push for illegal immigrants to become eligible for driver licenses, a next move in a bid for full U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Therein lies the problem, said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigrant Studies, a non-partisan Washington, D.C., research organization whose tagline is "Low-immigration, Pro-immigrant."

"The reason [the Dream Act] matters," Krikorian said, "is that it's an attempt to legitimize the presence of illegal immigrants...People say, 'How can you object to letting the young people who are living here get tuition?'

"That's a different debate than the one over whether or not to legalize immigration...The point of [the Dream Act] is not to give financial aid to a few students but to create political momentum in Washington for amnesty for all illegal immigrants," he continued.

Resistance to laws akin to California's Dream Act remain considerable, Krikorian said, citing a November 2012 Maryland vote on a law -- approved in April -- that would extend in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students who can show that they, or their parents, paid taxes during the past three years.

It also required Illegal immigrant males to enlist in the Selective Service System for being drafted into the military.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


DREAM Act Immigration Bill Poised for House, Senate Votes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Both the House and the Senate are expected to vote Wednesday on whether to advance a controversial immigration measure that would provide a conditional path to legal residency for tens of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants first brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.

The bill -- the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act -- has been championed by immigration advocates and the White House as a common sense reform that's previously garnered bipartisan support.

Its supporters say it would bring out of the shadows a fraction of the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who have only known the U.S. as home, enhance military recruitment and give American employers access to a talented and highly-motivated pool of young workers.

Only immigrants younger than 30 who entered the U.S. before age 16, have lived here five years without a criminal record, graduated high school and attend college or join the military would be eligible for legal residency after fulfilling requirements.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates between 300,000 and 500,000 presently undocumented immigrants could benefit from the DREAM Act.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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