L4GG today launched a petition demanding that Congress pass a "clean" Dream Act before the end of 2017. The text of the petition is copied below; click here to add your name now.
Pass the Dream Act NOW.
We demand that Congress take action now - this month - to pass a "clean" Dream Act (H.R. 3440, S. 1615), a bipartisan bill that will protect the rights of young, undocumented people who were brought to this country by parents or other family members long before they reached adulthood. The lives and livelihoods of nearly 800,000 Dreamers - and their family members - are at stake.
We stand with Dreamers and agree with Lawyers for Good Government ("L4GG," a nationwide coalition of more than 125,000 attorneys, law professors, paralegals, students and other legal professionals) that passing a "clean" Dream Act is the right thing to do, not only for the sake of Dreamers and their families, but for our nation as a whole.
L4GG's mission is to protect and strengthen democratic institutions, resist abuse of power and corruption, and defend the rights of all those who suffer in the absence of good government. We write to you today because Dreamers are suffering - and will continue to suffer until Congress takes action.
Dreamers are young people who have spent the vast majority of their lives in the United States. In most cases they have known no other nation's laws, culture, or language. They are making positive contributions to their communities and schools, furthering their educations and/or entering the workforce, paying taxes, and making the most of the opportunities our great nation has to offer.
In the past, our immigration system was constructed to take circumstances like these into account. Individual agents, judges, and administration officials had sufficient discretion to apply the laws on a case-by-case basis and ensure that enforcement was not only just, but also humane. Since the 1990s, though, that discretion has become more and more limited, and our immigration system has become more focused on criminalization than on individual welfare.
The Dream Act offers a chance to take a step in the right direction.
When President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, it created an immediate need to address the status of Dreamers who have called only one country -- the United States -- their home. L4GG quickly mobilized more than 5,000 volunteer attorneys to assist Dreamers with the necessary paperwork to ensure their status was extended for the full amount of time permitted, and every L4GG lawyer who had the privilege of serving Dreamers came away impressed.
As introduced, the Dream Act provides a clear, achievable path to permanent status and citizenship for Dreamers. That's what is needed right now. It would be unjust and impractical to keep hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in limbo to be used as bargaining chips while Congress debates the best means of improving the rest of our immigration system. There will be plenty of time for that debate after the urgent needs of Dreamers have been addressed.
We urge you, before the end of December 2017, to support the Dream Act, and in so doing, take a stand for one of the most fundamental aspects of our uniquely American spirit; a spirit that calls us to welcome the "tired ... poor, ... huddled masses, yearning to breathe free."