FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2012
National Coordinating Committee Member
“No to the STARS; YES to our DREAMs”
We greatly appreciate the efforts that politicians and youth nationwide have taken to halt the deportation of Ms. Daniela Pelaez and her sister, Dayana Pelaez. We are excited to see two new faces in the immigrant rights youth movement who are ready to fight for a comprehensive solution. As a network composed primarily of undocumented immigrant youth and young adults, the United We Dream (UWD) Network understands the pain and frustration felt by the Pelaez sisters and all DREAMers. For years, we have seen our youth graduate to have their dreams shattered.
We have not yet seen the proposed Studying Toward Achieving Residency Status (STARS) Act, but based on news reports it appears to make cruel and unnecessary distinctions between equally deserving youth. For example, it reportedly would limit relief to individuals who are under 18 1/2 years old. That would mean that an 18 year old woman who was brought to the US when she was a toddler could qualify for relief, but her 19 year old sister who came on the same boat could not. That’s unreasonable. The same logic that compels relief for one sister applies equally to her older sibling. In both cases, our nation benefits by giving them a chance to contribute to our nation’s future, and it makes no sense for our Department of Homeland Security to expend resources to deport either one.
We should remember that youth have fought for the DREAM Act since it was first introduced in Congress in 2001. They have fought for their dreams, and those of many others like the Pelaez sisters. Having the STARS Act as a substitute for the DREAM Act would not be fair to them. Just like having the Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act (ARMS Act) is not the solution. Congressman Rivera (R-FL) writer, of both bills, is beating around the bush. With a simple math equation one can see that STARS Act + ARMS Act ≠ DREAM Act. Neither of these bills alone are a real solution to the plight many undocumented youth face.
We are happy that this issue is once again being brought to the forefront. Nevertheless, the United We Dream Network will not support any legislation that intentionally excludes a large population of DREAM Act eligible youth and that attempts to divide Dreamers. The solution is not, and will never be, to narrow the pathway towards citizenship through watered-down pieces of legislation.
United we Dream is a national network led by immigrant youth that organize and advocate for access to higher education and legal status for all.