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For Senate Judiciary Hearing: “Dream Deferred: The Urgent Need to Protect Immigrant Youth”

TheDream.US Scholars and Alumni Sign-on Letter

For Senate Judiciary Hearing: “Dream Deferred: The Urgent Need to Protect Immigrant Youth”

May 8, 2024

As 1,746 Scholars and Alumni of TheDream.US, we respectfully urge Congress to broaden pathways for ‘Dreamers’ to regularize our status and provide us with the opportunity to pursue a path to U.S. citizenship naturalization. Providing a pathway to legalization will do more than provide certainty to Dreamers: such action will provide certainty to our families and communities and strengthen our nation’s economy by ensuring the future of a vital, vibrant workforce. 

Our stories are an impactful reminder of the critical role Dreamers play as members of diverse communities throughout the United States. We all came to this country at different points in our lives. Some of us came as babies or toddlers, while others came as school-aged children. But we all grew up knowing that the United States is our home. Despite the barriers we have faced, we have always persevered. We got into college, we found ways to finance our education, and we have embarked or are about to embark on meaningful careers.

Earning TheDream.US Scholarship marked a turning point for us. Submitting this letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of bi-partisan action on Dreamer legislation is a privilege. We have the opportunity to represent thousands of other students like us who similarly reflect the diverse interests and limitless potential of the Dreamer population. 

TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college and career success program for undocumented immigrant students, having provided more than 10,000 college scholarships over the past decade. We the letter signers are graduates or students at 108 colleges and universities in 22 states and Washington, D.C. and graduated from high schools in 40 states and Washington, D.C.

Like our peers, we have earned degrees across a variety of disciplines and are employed in high-needs sectors. 25% of TheDream.US Scholars currently enrolled in college are pursuing majors in Science, Math, and Technology; 23% of us are studying Health and Medicine; and 16% are enrolled in Business programs. Those who have graduated are helping companies prosper, keeping our communities healthy, and teaching the next generation, infusing underemployed industries with the knowledge we have gained from our studies and lived experiences. 

Of course, TheDream.US Scholars and Alumni are just part of the larger population of Dreamers who are working and contributing to our shared prosperity. Dreamers were a key part of our country’s COVID-19 response: 340,000 DACA recipients were deemed “essential workers” during the pandemic and kept America running throughout the crisis. Since then, Dreamers have continued to take on vital roles, with 34,000 providing direct patient care as healthcare employees and 15,000 serving as K-12 teachers.  

This month, many of us will participate in a few of the commencement ceremonies taking place across the nation, becoming part of the 4,000+ TheDream.US Alumni contributing to the American economy. While we are excited to take this next step, we are stymied by the instability of our status. Ongoing legal challenges to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program exacerbate the uncertainty we and our families face. Without access to work permits, we are unable to make full use of our degrees. Without access to permanent legal status, we face daily insecurity that undermines our attempts to establish ourselves as entrepreneurial members of our communities. 

We write as a collective voice, asking lawmakers to consider this moment as a key opportunity to facilitate pathways to success and security for all Dreamers, both with and without DACA or TPS. 

There is broad support for bipartisan immigration reform. For example, a March 2024 Wall Street Journal poll found that 74% of Americans supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for many years and pass a background check. The public understands the critical role Dreamers can play in American society and are ready for Congress to find opportunities to work together on this issue. 

We Dreamers are already contributing to our communities, living out the ideals of citizenship in our families, schools, and places of work. With permanent status, we could do so much more. 

Our ask is simple: give us an opportunity. What we want is the chance to legalize our status so that all of us Dreamers, with and without DACA and TPS, can become full-fledged American citizens.  

Thank you for your consideration and support. 

Sincerely, 

TheDream.US Scholars and Alumni