80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act was first introduced in the Senate in 2001, and has failed on numerous occasions; and

WHEREAS, the Dream Act provides immigration relief to high school students by allowing them to become permanent residents if they came to the United States as children (under the age of 16), are long-term United States residents (five years or more), have good moral character and attend an institution of higher learning or enlist in the military for at least two years; and

WHEREAS, children who have been brought to the United States illegally should not be punished for the alleged transgressions of their parents/guardians and deserve to be judged on their own character and merit regardless of their country of birth or immigrant status; and

WHEREAS, the Dream Act would provide young people with an incentive to move towards permanent residency while pursuing further education or serving our country in the United States Armed Services; and

WHEREAS, approximately 60,000 to 70,000 undocumented students graduate from United States high schools each year without legal status making it difficult for them to attend college, acquire a job or join the military; and

WHEREAS, as a case in point, the DREAM Act would provide immigration relief to Daniela Pelaez, who has resided in Miami since she was four; graduated from North Miami Senior High School as valedictorian; applied for residency in 2010 but was denied residency while her father gained residency through her brother who serves in the United States Army and has completed a tour in Afghanistan; was ordered departed and that deportation order sparked outrage both locally and nationally, with close to three thousand students, teachers and community members protesting in her support; and since this outcry, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has indicated that it will not carry out the deportation order during a two-year deferred action under its prosecutorial discretion; and

WHEREAS, no one benefits from the creation of an underclass that would come about as a result of denying these students the opportunity to pursue higher education and from denying hard working individuals an opportunity to compete in the global political economy; and

WHEREAS, according to the Immigration Policy Center there are 2.1 million children that would benefit from the passage of the Dream Act; and

WHEREAS, the Dream Act is a practical, fair solution that upholds values of fair opportunity and strong work ethics; and

WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has previously gone on record in support of the DREAM Act,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports allowing undocumented alien children to become permanent residents after attending two years of college or joining the military if they came to the United States before the age of 16, have maintained continuous residence for five years, graduated from high school or obtained a GED, and have good moral character. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the United States Congress to pass the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act.