Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is proposing an amendment that would allow undocumented children—or “little Dreamers”—to be put on a faster track to become legal residents than they would under the current bipartisan immigration reform bill.
As it’s written now, the bill would require undocumented children who are under the age of 18 to follow the same legalization process as their parents. This means these children would have to wait 13 years before they can apply for a green card and ultimately U.S. citizenship.
But Blumenthal doesn’t think these little Dreamers should have to wait that long.
Instead, he wants them to be put on the same expedited five-year path to legalization as undocumented youth who entered the U.S. as children, are over the age of 16 and either graduated from a U.S. high school or completed a GED. Currently, little Dreamers don’t qualify for that five-year path because they are too young to have graduated from high school or completed a GED.
“This amendment covers those little Dreamers—the younger Dreamers—who otherwise would have to go through the longer 13-year wait,” Blumenthal told VOXXI. “Making them wait that long would be unjust because, like all the other Dreamers, they were brought here at very young ages through no choice or fault of their own.”
The Connecticut senator, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, added that this amendment is “a matter of fairness.”
“This country is the only one they know,” Blumenthal said of the little Dreamers. “Often English is the only language they speak, and their families are here along with their friends.”
Blumenthal’s amendment is one of the 300 amendments filed Tuesday by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The amendments seek to make changes to the immigration reform bill crafted by the so-called “Gang of Eight.” Mark-up of the bill began Thursday morning.
‘Little Dreamers’ amendment enjoys wide support
The “little Dreamers” amendment is endorsed by more than 180 national and local advocacy organizations, ranging from education associations to immigrant rights groups.
Besides working with Blumenthal to draft the language of the amendment, First Focus Campaign for Children led efforts to collect 180 endorsements for the amendment within three days. The broad list of supporters includes the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, National Latino Children’s Institute, United We Dream and AFL-CIO.
Wendy Cervantes, vice president of immigration and child rights policy at First Focus, said her group supports the amendment because undocumented children should not be penalized and put on a longer path to legalization just because of their age.
“We feel that young children should have the same opportunity as their older counterparts,” Cervantes told VOXXI. She added that the amendment is “the right thing to do for children.”
There is no clear count of the total number of undocumented children who would benefit from this amendment, but First Focus estimates hundreds of thousands of children who are under the age of 13 would benefit from it.
So far, there aren’t many opponents of this amendment. Blumenthal said he has gotten positive feedback from other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association, is another avid supporter of the amendment. She commended Blumenthal for his efforts to correct what she thinks is “an oversight” made by the bipartisan group of senators who she said must’ve missed the inconsistency between the path to legalization for little Dreamers and older Dreamers during the crafting of the immigration reform bill.
“It just makes common sense,” Eskelsen told VOXXI of the amendment. “We’re going to fix this glitch in the bill, and we’re going to make sure that little Dreamers have the same path as big Dreamers.”
2013 Proposed Amendments to the NEA Hispanic Caucus ByLaws
Submitted by Mary Ann Pacheco (CA)
To delete and renumber the Caucus by-laws as follows:
Article V Board of Directors
SECTION 2 The NEA/HC Representative to the fund for Children and Public Education Council shall be a member of the Board of Directors.
Renumber subsequent SECTION.
Article XV The NEA/HC Representative to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council.
SECTION 1: The NEA/HC Representative to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council shall be elected on odd numbered years utilizing the process outlined in Article X.
SECTION 2: The term of office for the NEA/HC representative to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council shall be limited to two (2) consecutive two-year terms.
SECTION 3: The NEA/HC representative to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council shall:
- A. Attend NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council meetings;
- B. Submit a written report to the NEA/HC Chairperson within sixty (60) days following each NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council meeting;
- C. Serve on the NEA/HC Executive Board as an ex-officio member; and
- D. Shall submit a minimum of one article for publication in La Voz.
Renumber subsequent Articles.
The meetings of the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council are held in conjunction with the meetings of the NEA Board of Directors in Washington, DC. Traditionally, the NEA has provided travel and lodging for the caucus representative on a limited basis so caucus funds have had to be used to supplement payment of expenses. The chair of the NEA Hispanic Caucus attends the Board meetings as a non-voting member of the Board. Since the chair is already present in Washington, DC, for the Board meeting, the chair can easily attend the Council meetings as the caucus representative (as do other ethnic minority caucus chairs) and report to the caucus members afterwards. Deleting both (1) and (2) above will be a cost-saving change that will not eliminate the caucus’s voice at the Fund Council meeting.
IMPORTANT MEMO FROM NEA
FROM: Dennis Van Roekel, President; John Stocks, Executive Director
DATE: March 18, 2013
RE: All in for Citizenship March and Rally
The National Education Association has agreed to play a major sponsorship role in the All in for Citizenship March and Rally on April 10th in Washington, DC.
The April 10th event will reassert the mandate from the election for Congress to act urgently to fix our nation’s broken immigration system.
March organizers expect that by bringing tens of thousands of people to the West Lawn of the Capitol and ensuring national visibility through coverage in local and national news outlets will impact the debate about how to move forward on this issue. NEA is working in conjunction with the Alliance for Citizenship which includes other major unions, most notably SEIU, as well as a variety of other organizations to maximize the impact of the event. Note that April 10th is the anniversary of the largest mobilization for immigrant rights in recent history (April 10, 2006).
As educators, we have witnessed for far too long the impact that the current immigration system has had on our students, their families, and our communities.
To have a visible presence, we will actively seek educator participation from neighboring states.
Additionally, NEA has also launched a national contest in conjunction with the march. The contest calls on educators and DREAMers to share their story about why they are inspired to stand up for comprehensive immigration reform. Two individuals – a DREAMer and an educator – with compelling stories will be chosen by the NEA to fly to Washington, DC to participate in the march. Contest Rules can be found athttp://educationvotes.nea.org/2013/03/14/sign-up-here-for-the-national-immigration-reform-rally-on-april-10/.
Please encourage members who are interested in participating in the April 10th event to go to Education Votes for information on the march. They can also RSVP on Education Votes.
If you have questions about NEA’s role or ideas about how to maximize our members’ participation, please contact the lead for our immigration work, Rocio Inclan (RInclan@nea.org).
The 2013 NEA Hispanic Caucus Issues Conference:
Las Alturas a Nuestro Alcance:
Nuestra Esperanza y Nuestro Destino
Reaching for the Heights: Our Hope and Our Destiny
will take place in
on May 17th, 18th, and 19th
EMBASSY SUITES HOTEL DENVER-AURORA
4444 North Havana Street
Denver, Co 80239
1-303-375-0400 or 1-800-EMBASSY
Conference Code: NEA
You may download your registration form at
***Registration must be made prior to room reservations***
We hope to see you there!!!
Results 2012 NEA HISPANIC CAUCUS ELECTIONS
The NEA Hispanic Caucus Executive Offices were filled by the following nominees at the 2012 NEA Representative Assembly in Washington D.C.
Chair- Maria Helena Cantu-Clair
Secretary-Gladys F. Marquez
Southeast Regional Director- Ingrid Robledo
Northeast Regional Director-
Mid Atlantic Regional Direct- Alina Rozanski
Please read the NEA Hispanic Caucus elections procedures for further information.
This information can be found on the NEA Hispanic Caucus webpage By-Laws Link.
For future reference the candidacy forms can be downloaded using the sidebar located on this webpage.