80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year, but live in constant fear of deportation; and

WHEREAS, despite their talent and potential to contribute to the nation and to its economy, they face bleak prospects in both employment and education because without legal status, they cannot drive or work legally and are forced to take dead-end jobs and cannot qualify for most college scholarships and loans in most states despite graduating from local high schools; and

WHEREAS, offering them a temporary legal status would help stop the colossal brain drain that occurs when ambitious young people are deported or blocked from achieving their full potential; and

WHEREAS,  unleashing  their talents would allow them to earn, spend and invest more in the U.S. economy at a time of increasing demand for highly skilled “knowledge workers,” which would pay enormous dividends; and

WHEREAS, the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would provide a path to citizenship to high school graduates 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, the DREAM Act was first introduced in Congress more than 10 years ago and passed the House of Representatives in 2010, but failed that year in the Senate: and

WHEREAS, the DREAM Act as considered in 2010 by Congress would have cut the deficit by $2.2 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office;

WHEREAS, the  Supreme Court, in Heckler v. Chaney, held that “an agency’s decision not to prosecute or enforce, whether through civil or criminal process, is a decision generally committed to an agency’s absolute discretion;” and

WHEREAS, the President has repeatedly announced that the DREAM Act beneficiaries do not fall within the Administration’s enforcement priorities, which include prosecuting and removing noncitizens who have committed serious crimes, and the Executive Branch, through the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), can decide not to prosecute a case, granting ”deferred action” to removable persons; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Homeland Security, therefore, has the administrative authority to undertake an initiative to provide provisional status on a case-by-case basis to young people who would be eligible under the DREAM Act,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that until Congress passes the DREAM Act the Department of Homeland Security should create a program allowing DREAM Act eligible youth to apply for provisional status on a case-by-case basis, thus allowing immigrant youth to pursue their dreams while contributing their considerable talents to the country they love and consider home.