Over the past 10 years, there has been endless posturing in Washington about our broken immigration system. Unfortunately, these debates have achieved nothing to produce critically needed comprehensive immigration reform.
It is shameful that Congress can’t even come together to do the bare minimum and pass the DREAM Act, which opens the door to permanent residency through military service and higher education for thousands of immigrant young people whose parents brought them to this country as children.
They deserve better — the chance to work hard, get a good education, help grow our economy and keep our country safe. Little wonder Republicans such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell have advocated for this legislation, calling it critical to our national security.
The lack of leadership in Washington has reverberated across the country — leaving state governments on their own to answer the fundamental question of how we view and treat immigrants in our society. States like Arizona and Alabama have stepped into this leadership void by passing abhorrent laws that undermine basic civil rights.
Since Congress refuses to act, New York can show the nation a different way. Where others have chosen intolerance, the Empire State can honor its legacy of being a beacon of hope and opportunity for generations of immigrants by passing the New York State DREAM Act introduced by Assemblyman Guillermo Linares and state Sen. Bill Perkins, as well as the DREAM Fund introduced by Assemblyman Francisco Moya.