Illinois Federation of Teachers: A More Just DREAM Act

Resolution No. 17 – Pushing for a More Just Version of the D.R.E.A.M. Act

PUSHING FOR A MORE JUST VERSION OF THE D.R.E.A.M. ACT

Adopted at the 2010 Illinois Federation of Teachers Convention

WHEREAS, the current D.R.E.A.M. (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act allows “legalization” for undocumented youth through military service or college attendance; and

WHEREAS, the overwhelming majority of undocumented people, approximately 70 percent, are Latinos/as. About ¼ of all Latinos/as have attended college, and only 11 percent of Latinos/as have a college degree. The Association of Raza Educators has also provided more specific statistics that only one out of 20 undocumented high school seniors attend college; and

WHEREAS, two years of college is needed to fulfill the educational part of the D.R.E.A.M. Act, it is likely that an overwhelming majority of undocumented youth will be pushed into the military, causing a de facto draft, in order to get a conditional green card. This fact has been made clear by D.R.E.A.M. Act architects. For example, Senator Dick Durbin, sponsor of the D.R.E.A.M. Act, has said: “The D.R.E.A.M. Act would address a very serious recruitment crisis that faces our military. Under the D.R.E.A.M. Act, tens of thousands of well-qualified potential recruits would become eligible for military service for the first time”; and

WHEREAS, in June 2010, California’s legislature passed a D.R.E.A.M. Act of its own (SB 1460), vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, that would have provided financial aid, including Cal Grants and community college fee waivers, for undocumented youth at state schools. Furthermore, SB 1460 did not include any military provision; and

WHEREAS, we applaud the youth who put their lives on the line and risk detention and deportation in their struggles to pass the D.R.E.A.M. Act, the Illinois Federation of Teachers simply wishes to push the D.R.E.A.M. Act in a more just direction; and

WHEREAS, the original Federal D.R.E.A.M. Act of 2001 did not include a military provision; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers support amending the D.R.E.A.M. Act by proposing the following four changes to the legislation:
1)   including a community service path to legalization
2)   including a vocational path to legalization
3)   allowing undocumented youth access to Pell Grants and federal financial aid money to offer an honest chance to go to college
4)   allowing youth to petition their parents for legal status; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT will use its political and legislative knowledge and resources to lobby members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation on behalf of these changes to the Federal D.R.E.A.M. Act; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT work closely with locals and members to encourage and facilitate its members in expressing their support of these changes to the D.R.E.A.M. Act to Illinois’ representatives in Congress; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT provide members with the information, including a fact sheet and supporting narratives, needed to engage in these efforts; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT make available to state affiliates and members information regarding providing financial resources that include scholarships and loans that undocumented students are eligible to apply for to help fund their education; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the IFT feature an informative article in the IFT Insight explaining the issue and its effects on children and students to IFT members.