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After defeat of the DREAM Act

AFSC immigration rally in Portland, Oregon. Photo: Hombre / AFSC

We continue to stand with all immigrant youth

The American Friends Service Committee is disappointed that the United States Senate did not improve and pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act.)

AFSC believes that creating a humane immigration system is an important human rights issue facing the United States, and will continue to advocate for overhaul of the existing system to guarantee dignity and respect for all immigrant families.

Although the DREAM Act had the support of 55 Senators in the final vote, this was not sufficient to overcome the lack of political will displayed by some of our nation’s leaders.

If you want to know how your Senators voted click here.

The final bill in the Senate prioritized military service over access to education and community service.  In the months and days leading up to this  vote, AFSC joined with immigrant youth in urging our senators to offer undocumented youth equal access to education and multiple paths to citizenship that would have best served the needs of U.S. society.

This vote took place in a time of increased deportations and escalation of the failed border policies, including the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.  Reversing the current immigration policies that separate families, criminalize workers and jeopardizes the quality of life of communities continues to be an urgent human rights issue.

For over a decade, immigrant youth have been tirelessly advocating for passage of the DREAM Act, and they will not stop now.  AFSC sees the DREAM act as a means to allow millions of undocumented youth the ability to continue to contribute to our society without the fear of deportation.  AFSC will continue to work with local immigrants’ rights groups, nationwide immigrants’ rights organizations and legislators to include important improvements in any future legislation:

  • Enrollment in vocational programs in addition to formal college education,
  • Access to scholarships and other funding sources for financing their education,
  • A community service alternative, and
  • A conscientious objection clause for those who chose the military enrollment option.

The American Friends Service Committee encourages our supporters to strengthen the movement to guarantee the protection of human rights and to keep families together.