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Senator Rubio’s Not-so-just Alternative to the DREAM Act

Over the past few weeks, Senator Rubio (R-FL) has made remarks to the media about introducing a Republican alternative to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). There is much speculation circulating about what will and will not be included in his bill.

Due to the coverage Senator Rubio has attracted, NETWORK would like to clarify that this bill has yet to be introduced to the Senate. Since we have not read the text of the legislation, NETWORK has not taken a position on the bill but will remain vigilant in analyzing it and determining the proper course forward to ensure justice for the children of undocumented parents.

However, statements from the senator have raised a number of concerns for us. He has noted that his bill would grant undocumented students legal status but would exclude a pathway to citizenship. This is especially concerning to us. Without this pathway, talented immigrant youth will live in the shadows and become part of a new second-class category. The New York Times has called Senator Rubio’s bill “A Dream Act Without a Dream.” As people of faith, we believe the inherent dignity of all individuals, regardless of their immigration status, should be upheld. The current system is already detrimental to this idea, and trapping them in a new legal category is not a just solution.

NETWORK continues to fully support the original DREAM Act reintroduced by Senator Reid (D-NV) on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Unfortunately, no action has been taken to move the bill through committee. We believe the principles of this bill, which allow undocumented youth of good moral character to obtain legal status, should be at the forefront of Congress’ priorities.