The "Act on the DREAM" Summit convened a select group of about 40 leaders of national higher education organizations and other national immigration specific stakeholders to discuss the establishment of a coalition in support of the BRIDGE Act (S. 128 & H.R. 496) and the subsequent passage of the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).
The objectives of the Summit were:
- Develop a comprehensive advocacy strategy, and
- Develop a suite of resources for higher education institutions and school districts to better serve DREAMers and their families.
Below are links to the relevant content for the Summit:
While immigration reform appears to be stalled due to partisanship, targeted immigration measures like the DREAM Act & the BRIDGE Act are increasingly enjoying bipartisan support. The term DREAMer is widely used to describe individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children and raised continuously in the country but lack legal immigration status. As children, DREAMers are entitled to public elementary and secondary education as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe.
Once DREAMers complete high school, however, many have limited access to higher education opportunities. To address this and other policy issues, multiple DREAM Act bills have been introduced in Congress, with the first version introduced in the Senate in 2001. Their purpose has been to help those individuals who meet certain requirements to have an opportunity to enlist in the military or go to college and have a path to citizenship.
In 2012, in the absence of congressional action on DREAM Act legislation, the Obama Administration announced that certain individuals who entered the United States as children and met other criteria would be considered for relief from removal. Under a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memorandum, these individuals have been able to apply for consideration under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program has enrolled more than 752,000 individuals to date, allowing them to temporarily have an opportunity at the American dream.
Due to the administrative nature of the origins of the DACA program, the varied political reactions it generated and the continuing effects of the presidential campaign rhetoric, many believe DACA’s continuation may be in serious peril and DACA recipients at risk of deportation. A broad spectrum of institutions and organizations support the continuation of the DACA program and the protections it includes.
In January 2017, a group of bi-partisan political leaders, led by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Luis Gutierrez, introduced the BRIDGE Act (S. 128 and H.R. 496) that would extend the provisional protected presence and employment authorization for DACA recipients for three years. However, the DACA program and the BRIDGE Act are only stopgap measures; what is needed is the passage of the DREAM Act and ultimately fair, just, and comprehensive immigration reform.
Additional Information on the BRIDGE Act
Note: Additional resources for DREAMers and institutions will be posted shortly, as well as a post-summit report.