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New Six-Figure Ad Campaign Targets Key GOP Senators to Support DREAM Act

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DREAM Youth and Advocates Lay Out Details of Spanish and English Ad Buy in FL, MA, ME, NV, TX & Highlight Importance of Passing DREAM

Washington, DC – With both chambers of Congress planning to take up the DREAM Act this year, students who would benefit from the legislation joined today with labor and immigration reform advocates to announce the details of a six-figure ad buy in Spanish and English media targeting Senators whose votes could be crucial to passing DREAM – Florida Senator George LeMieux; Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe; Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown; Nevada Senator John Ensign; and Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The ads, which will run through the week at heavy rotation on key Spanish and English radio outlets in these states, say that “Republicans are running out of excuses to oppose the DREAM Act” and are spreading lies about the bill.  The ads feature real students describing their stories of success in America and why they need the DREAM Act in order to achieve their dreams.  The ads also note that the DREAM Act is good for the whole country, not just the people who qualify for its provisions, because it will strengthen both our economic future and our nation’s military.

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill that has been awaiting Congressional approval for a decade.  It would enable young people who came to the country as children, but lack legal immigration status, to enlist in the U.S. military or attend college on their way to becoming full U.S. citizens.  The legislation is broadly popular with the American people – a November 2010 poll conducted by Lake Research Partners found that the DREAM Act enjoys strong support across party lines.  Overall, 66 percent of American voters nationwide support the DREAM Act, including majorities of Democrats (81%), independents (60%), and Republicans (57%). Additionally, in election eve polling conducted by Latino Decisions in eight key 2010 states, 75 percent of Latino voters said passing the DREAM Act in short order was either “extremely important” or “very important.”

On the press call today announcing the details of the ad buy, immigration and labor leaders made clear the importance of enacting DREAM, highlighted its popularity, and pointed out the moral and political imperatives of its passage.

Mitch Ackerman, Executive Vice President, SEIU, stated, “Today, Congress has the opportunity to make our nation more secure, more prosperous and more just.  This is the moment for Republicans to show that they can rise above the partisanship and anti-immigrant rhetoric of the campaign season and work with Democrats to open the doors of opportunity to some of our nation’s brightest future leaders.”

Ana Avendano, Assistant to the President and Director of Immigration and Community Action, AFL-CIO, said, “The AFL-CIO is proud to continue standing with America’s future leaders in strong support of the DREAM Act.  There is absolutely nothing more American than the ideals that the DREAM Act embodies; hope, hard-work, self-determination and opportunity.  As a nation we simply cannot afford to waste the talents of these gifted young people any longer.”

Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum and Chair, Reform Immigration for America Campaign, highlighted the urgency of Congressional action.  “The time to pass DREAM is now. Along with common sense legislation like AgJOBS, it represents the best opportunity for Congress to prove to the American people that it can work together in a bi-partisan fashion to deliver real solutions for the American people. Reform Immigration for America is committed to achieving the DREAM Act in the lame duck session.”

“These ads are putting key political leaders on notice that there is a price to be paid for catering to anti-immigrant extremists,” said Marissa Graciosa, Immigration Campaign Coordinator for Campaign for Community Change. “The DREAM Act is about kids.  Purely and simply, any politician who can’t vote for our kids cannot receive the vote of our communities.”

Meanwhile, two leaders from the DREAM student movement described their personal struggles to remain in the only country they know as home, and called on policymakers to pass the DREAM Act this year.  Gaby Pacheco, a Miami resident, earned the highest JROTC rank in her high school and went on to earn two associates degrees and a bachelor’s degree.  “Congress has been working on the DREAM Act for about 10 years and it’s about time that they pass it.  Young people like me are Americans through and through and just want to give back to the country that we love.  Senator LeMieux, will you let us serve?”

Alina Cortes from San Antonio Texas graduated in the top 5 percent of her high school class and dreams of serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.  “I would love to serve the country that has served me,” she says.  “I was raised as a conservative and put my Republican leaders up on a pedestal.  Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison voted for the DREAM Act in the past and I’m hoping that she does so again this year.”

Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice and the moderator of today’s call, “the choice facing these Republican Senators is simple: you either stand with outstanding young people like Gaby Pacheco and Alina Cortes, or you keep these young Americans from giving back to the only nation they know.”