To the Editor:
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has come out publicly condemning the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a bill that has over 70 percent of Americans behind it. This bill is the make-it-or-break-it opportunity for hundreds and thousands of young men and women from across the country, who today are as American as you and I. Yet they are facing deportation.
These children grew up in the land of hope and dreams, a land that to them is the only land they know. I cannot express to you how terrible this action makes me feel, as well as thousands of others in this state. We as people come from a country of immigrants, a state of immigrants, who live under the Constitution of protecting those who cannot protect themselves. I hope that the senator will take the time to read the bill and rethink her statement and decision.
“Millions of illegal immigrants could attempt to become legal residents as a result of this proposal, according to some estimates, and it is incumbent upon the Senate to ensure our policies never again lead to a situation where we are confronted with upwards of 12 million illegal immigrants residing within our borders,” said Senator Snowe.
Both Maine Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree stood on the right side of history in supporting the DREAM Act last week, and it’s time for Maine Senators Snowe and Susan Collins to do the same.
Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. Most get the opportunity to test their dreams and live their American story. However, a group of approximately 65,000 youth do not get this opportunity; they are smeared with an inherited title: “illegal immigrant.” These youth have lived in the United States for most of their lives and want nothing more than to be recognized for what they are: Americans.
The DREAM Act is a bipartisan effort that can solve this hemorrhaging injustice in our society. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a six-year conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service.
This bill is the right thing to do. We must do what is right.
Jose Joey Lopez, acting state director
League of United Latino American Citizens of Maine (LULAC)