Washington D.C. (December 13, 2010) – On Monday, leading scholars re-issued a national sign-on letter in support of the DREAM Act, a bill to give certain undocumented immigrant youth an opportunity at legal status. The letter currently has 288 signatories representing scholars in 38 states. While scholars have for years worked to educate the public and speak out on immigration reform, this letter represents the most concerted effort among the academic community to advocate for the DREAM Act.
To launch the letter and discuss their support of the DREAM Act, several leading immigration scholars joined a national teleconference. Their collective view, after decades of research, is that punishing the children of undocumented immigrants does a disservice to the future of our country. By failing to offer these young people a place in America, we are cutting them off from the very mechanisms that would allow them to contribute to our economy and society.
Douglas S. Massey, Professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs said “Not only is passing the Dream Act in the best interests of the United States; it is the right thing to do. If Congress cannot pass a bill that lifts the burden of illegality from innocent children to unleash the productive potential of its own young people, then I fear for the future of the country in both moral and practical terms.”
Ruben G. Rumbaut, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine said, “It would compound the tragedy for the United States Senate to miss what may be a last opportunity (as far as can be foreseen) to extend to the most successful of these youth nothing more than a fair chance at life – and in so doing act in the best interests and values of this nation.”
Roberto G. Gonzales, Ph.D., professor at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work said “We must ask ourselves what we want for our country- a growing and vulnerable underclass of American-raised individuals or a significant number of young people ready and capable of strengthening our economy and society?”
Carola Suarez-Orozco, Ph.D., Professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development said “The Dream act is good for the kids by rewarding them for their efforts of working hard in school and de facto if not, so far, de jure acting as good citizens. It is good for society by not wasting our educational investment from K-12 and leaving these young people to languish on the streets with nowhere to go. It is simply the right thing to do.”