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Sr. Simone Campbell Speaks about the DREAM Act

On July 12, 2011, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) held a press conference in the United States Capitol announcing a DREAM Act Sabbath. One of the speakers was NETWORK Executive Director Sr. Simone Campbell. (More information available here.)

STATEMENT BY SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL

Executive Director

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

July 12, 2011

DREAM Press Conference

I have worried that the DREAM Act has been misnamed. Calling something a DREAM indicates that it is not real, has no substance, is far beyond reality. That has led me to wonder if it is actually making getting the legislation passed more difficult because everyone thinks dreams don’t really come true.

Then I met students who would qualify for an earned path to citizenship if the bill passes. I found out that their dreams are rooted in the daily reality of their lives. They work to learn, support their families, encourage siblings and friends. They strive for better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. They work daily to make dreams come true.

This brought me to the realization that perhaps it is just in Washington where the American dream has become fantasy. The American dream has been built on the imagination and toil of immigrants. Our nation has prospered because of the innovation and creativity of all of the people who have come to create something new. In Washington, it is tempting to forget the vision in exchange for partisan wrangling. This is wrong. We must step away from cynicism that second-guesses every action and embrace the founding spirit of our nation.

As a person of faith I hold to the prophet Joel echoed in the Acts of the Apostles, trusting that the day will come when “Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Our sons and daughters are prophesying to us. They are telling us of a way that our nation should go in order to be whole, to be creative, to lead into the twenty-first century. It is now time for the “old men” (and women) of Congress to dream their dream and take this first step toward comprehensive immigration reform. We, the older generation, need to listen and act. Congress needs to enact the DREAM Act this year.