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UPDATED: We need to give a major shout out to the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC) for drafting the proposed legislation, shopping it to prospective sponsors, traveling back and forth to Albany (four hours each way!) and holding a major “Coming Out” Rally in support of DREAM. The organization, with whom we’ve worked for years, has been the primary driving force behind this legislation.
Looks like the hard work and persistence of some New York-based DREAMers (and activists from all around the nation) paid off. New York now joins Maryland, California, Illinois, and Connecticut as states that are trying to push state versions of the DREAM Act. We need state action because the federal version of the DREAM Act was filibustered in the U.S. Senate late last year — despite strong support from the public and majorities in both Houses of Congress.
Yesterday, State Senator Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan) introduced the New York DREAM Act (S. 4179), co-sponsored by State Senator Dan Squadron (D-Brooklyn). This bill would provide benefits to New York undocumented youth who meet certain criteria. The benefits include access to financial aid for higher education, access to driver’s licenses, work authorization and access to health care. In order to qualify for these benefits, the young person must have arrived to the United States before the age of 16, be under the age of 35, have resided in New York State for at least two years, have obtained a high school diploma or GED equivalent from an American institution and have good moral character.
So, supporters of the DREAM Act, sign the petition telling Governor Cuomo that you think passing a state-version of the bill is the right thing to do. And, don’t forget to call NY State Senator Bill Perkins to thank him for introducing the New York Dream Act: 212-222-7315.