WASHINGTON — NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, has called on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R–OH) to work with their Democratic colleagues on moving the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act” forward. The call came in response to yesterday’s letter from all 42 Senate Republicans stating that they would not vote on any legislation until an extension of the Bush tax cuts was passed. NCLR also hand-delivered more than 7,000 letters urging a vote on the “DREAM Act” to Boehner and McConnell.
“It is time for members of Congress to show where they stand on the future of these young men and women and on moving the country forward,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “This vote will reveal whether they stand with the Latino community and these young people who want to serve and contribute to the only country they have ever called home. Make no mistake—the Latino community will be watching this vote closely. The time for hiding behind excuses and moving the goal posts is over.”
The DREAM Act has long been a bi-partisan measure whose fundamental principle is to provide a path to legal status for thousands of young people if they have shown good character and attend college or serve in the military for two years. It has the support of not just the Latino community but also of educators, religious and military leaders, and the business community. More than 70% of American voters also support this targeted and modest measure. A vote on the “DREAM Act” would be the first major vote on an important priority for Latinos since the recent election, an election in which Latinos made a difference in several key congressional races.
“We strongly urge both parties in Congress to work together on legislation that is important to Latinos and other Americans. Passing the ‘DREAM Act’ would be a critical first step,” Murguía concluded.