It came to our attention last week that Representative Joe Baca was re-introducing a bill for immigrant high-school graduates called the PROUD Act or ‘People Resolved to Obtain an Understanding of Democracy Act’ (H.R. 2681).
We would like to thank Joe Baca for introducing this bill again as his efforts do demonstrate the support that exists for immigrant youth.
When we called his office to ask for clarification and to see how the PROUD Act related to the DREAM Act and how we could work together, Baca’s staff were unclear – “No, he has not co-sponsored Dream, no they don’t have background info on why he introduced bill…”
After studying the 1-page bill, we have to conclude that the PROUD Act is not a viable alternative to the DREAM Act. We welcome a bill that does not have a military provision, benefits young people, and pushes the DREAM Act further to the Left.Â But what we have here is a more restrictive measure that alienates more students than the DREAM Act and doesn’t provide the necessary protections needed.
First, the age requirements are too restrictive and arbitrary. The PROUD Act would not benefit the scores of talented and hard-working students that have been working on getting legislation benefiting immigrant youth passed for so many years.
Essentially, the bill would only benefit those ‘alien minors’ who have been here from Grade 6 to 12, completed high school with a civics curriculum, and are under the age of 25 when they file their application.
Goodbye Tam Tran.
Goodbye Marie Gonzalez.
Josh Bernstein, Director of Immigration at SEIU, states that â€œfewer students would qualify under the PROUD Act because they would have to have come here at a much younger age and even if they have been here since infancy they would not qualify if through no fault of their own they reach 25 years old before the law is enacted and regulations published.â€
In comparison, the House DREAM Act bill has no age limit with the cut-off requirement for entry at around 10th-11th grade instead of 6th. A 15-year old is also a minor who is not culpable for the alleged transgressions of their parents.
Rigid age requirements aside, there are no provision for persons who get a GED instead of a high school diploma. If you dropped out of high school, you won’t be able to get a GED. Goodbye.
Additionally, unlike the DREAM Act, there is no protection against deportation for high school or junior high school students before graduation, no confidentiality provision to protect parents, no expedited processing and no repeal of federal in-state tuition restrictions.
And given that it was only re-introduced in the House with one co-sponsor, there is little-to-no chance of passage.
The DREAM Act is the result of 9 years of hard-work, compromise and battle. And it is closer to passage than ever before. Lets hope immigrant youth don’t have to wait another decade for immigration reform.
Call (202)225-6161, email and thank Joe Baca for introducing the PROUD Act and ask him to cosponsor and support the DREAM Act today.
While you are at it, here are more actions you can undertake in support of the DREAM Act.