New York, NY, December 9, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) hailed last night's passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of a bill to allow eligible undocumented youth to apply for legal status, and urged the Senate to do the same. The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) passed in the House by a vote of 216-198. A scheduled vote in the Senate is pending.
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We commend the House for giving children who are undocumented through no fault of their own -- who have grown up in our communities and stayed in school and out of trouble --- a chance to contribute to our country. We applaud the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and particularly commend Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) who has championed this bill for a decade.
We urge the Senate to do its part and to pass the DREAM Act without delay.
The support of such a broad array of military, education, civil rights, and faith leaders demonstrates America's commitment -- not just to fairness for these students -- but to a future for all of our children that embraces diversity and equal access to the American dream. Enactment of this bill would be an important first step toward full reform that would restore order and fairness to our immigration system.
Even as we mark this important step forward, we remain concerned about the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been a fixture in this debate. This rhetoric perpetuates a climate of bias and hostility toward immigrants that negatively impacts the entire fabric of our diverse country. We call on all leaders to reject dehumanizing rhetoric and to set an example of how immigrant policy can be debated respectfully.