In a year-end bipartisan near miracle, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have come together to propose a bill to provide protection for young immigrants who have been granted or are eligible for protection from deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. DACA is an executive order implemented by the Obama administration. Because it is an executive order, and not a bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, it could easily be rolled back by the incoming administration. That is why bipartisan congressional action is so essential for young immigrants who want to continue to contribute to America, the only home they have ever known.
Senator Durbin and Graham’s bill, Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act or the BRIDGE Act, will be introduced in the new year in the new Congress to protect immigrants brought to the United States as children without documentation. These are our children; they played by the rules attending school with our children, graduating from our high schools. Mirroring DACA, BRIDGE applicants would be required to pay a fee, undergo criminal background checks, and be determined not to pose a security threat.
These young people did nothing wrong, and have contributed to our communities. They want to continue their education and legally work in the United States. They need Congress and the American people to make it possible.
We applaud Senator Durbin and Senator Graham for working together to protect those young people who have or are eligible for DACA. Let this year-end bipartisan act be a harbinger of a new year and a new Congress brimming with bipartisan bills that bring Americans together. Only then will we be able to tackle the underlying issue: create a bipartisan bridge to an immigration system that works for the United States with a path out of the shadows for undocumented immigrants who want to get in a line for legal immigration status.
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NAFSA – Goucher College Event “A Global Education: No Longer Optional” Draws U.S. Senators, Higher Education Leaders to Discuss Legislation, Challenges, and Innovative Solutions
Senator Barbara Mikulski minced no words in her assessment of new members of Congress who boast that they don’t have a passport. “How,” she asked, “can you do your job in government without an international education?”
Speaking before congressional staffers, higher education leaders, and international educators at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday morning, Sen. Mikulski urged the audience and the U.S. Congress to make sure students get an education that is global in scope and to “fight for the resources” to make study abroad possible for many more Americans. “International education is inspirational education,” she said, an experience without parallel that teaches students critical lessons about the world and about themselves and their own country.
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Just a few weeks ago, things didn’t look good for the DREAM Act – it seemed likely that Congress would adjourn this fall without taking up the bill, which would create a legal path for undocumented young people to continue their education, serve in the military, and contribute to our economy.
And then Sen. Harry Reid (D – Nev.) announced that he plans to introduce an amendment to add the DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill next week. NAFSA has launched a major campaign to urge supporters to send letters to the Senate in support of the measure. Many other organizations and individuals are also making their voices heard. Harvard student Eric Balderas, whose personal story as an undocumented student who was nearly deported earlier this year galvanized many to support the bill, teamed up with Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust in a visit to Sen. Richard Durbin’s office earlier this week to thank him for his support; Durbin has been a leading champion for the DREAM Act since it was first proposed. President Obama has said he supports moving the DREAM Act forward next week, and that he remains committed to comprehensive immigration reform. Take action today on Connecting Our World and help make the DREAM Act a reality.
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Posted in NAFSA, Public Policy, Study Abroad, tagged S. 473, Senator Durbin, Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act, Senator Simon, Senator Wicker, Simon bill, Study Abroad on February 26, 2009|
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Yesterday, Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced legislation in the Senate that will make an investment in the global education of our students by creating an innovative program to dramatically expand opportunities for American students from all backgrounds to participate in quality educational experiences abroad – the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act (S.473). The introduction of the bill came the day after President Barack Obama spoke before Congress, where he highlighted education as one of three pillars important to the long-term stability of our economy, and raised a concern that “our children will compete for jobs in a global economy that too many of our schools do not prepare them for.”
The legislation was inspired by the late Senator Paul Simon (D – Ill.), who urged Congress to take action in an area he believed was crucial to the future of the United States: to ensure that the next generation of Americans is prepared with global knowledge and skills. It is nearly identical to legislation that came within one step of passage in the 110th Congress.
“Senator Paul Simon had a vision—to strengthen the role of the U.S. as a world leader by investing in the education of our young people,” said Senator Durbin. “The international study abroad program we are proposing will instill in the next generation of Americans a deeper understanding of the cultures and histories of other nations. This, in turn, will enhance the United States’ capacity to lead in the 21st Century. Last year the House of Representatives unanimously approved this bill. It is now time for the full Congress to make international education a national priority.”
Senator Wicker commented, “It is important that our country prepare our young people for the challenges of competing in an increasingly globalized marketplace. America will be served well by taking steps to ensure our students—the future leaders of our nation—have a higher level of foreign language proficiency and international and cultural knowledge. The passage of this legislation would help us meet that important goal.”
The legislation sets out the goal that in 10 years’ time, 1 million American undergraduate students, fully representative of the college demographic, will study abroad annually on quality programs in locations across the globe, particularly in the developing world.
Urge your Senators to Support this Legislation
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