Lugar seeks pause in deporting students
By Tania E. Lopez
The Indianapolis Star, April 23, 2010
Local community advocates for immigrants' rights are abuzz over an Indiana senator's letter to the Homeland Security Department calling for halting deportations of undocumented immigrant students while a piece of legislation that could make them permanent residents is under consideration.
The letter was distributed throughout local Hispanic community organizations' email listservs Wednesday and today.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Assistant Senate Minority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin D-Ill., sent the letter Wednesday to U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano requesting that undocumented immigrant students not be deported from the U.S. pending the outcome of the DREAM Act.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, would allow students who came to the U.S., as children become permanent residents so they can attend college or enroll in the military for at least two years.
Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., supports the bill.
'Though they are technically out of status,' wrote the senators. 'DREAM Act students should not be removed from the United States. The DREAM Act is narrowly tailored to assist only a select group of young people, many of whom came here with their parents at an age when they were too young to understand the consequences of their actions.'
Community activist and Latino Youth Collective board member Kathy Souchet-Moura praised the letter because she said it recognizes that the current immigration system needs to be fixed. She said there's an untapped pool of talented students that are being sent back to their countries because of their immigration status.
'This letter is a recognition that the immigration system is broken,' she said. 'And while change is taking place, we're hurting families and we're hurting people by detaining and deporting them. The DREAM Act is a recognition of their value and recognition to the community.'