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WITH WHITE HOUSE MOVING TO SPARE DREAMERS, TIME FOR NEW YORK STATE TO STEP UP AS WELL

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@thenyic.org
(Tuesday, June 19, 2012)

WITH WHITE HOUSE MOVING TO SPARE DREAMERS, TIME FOR NEW YORK STATE TO STEP UP AS WELL

Passage of State DREAM Legislation Would Leverage Federal Change for Maximum Impact; NYIC and Allies Launch State DREAM Call-In Day

With only three days left in the state legislative session, immigrant advocates and their allies are calling on Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos to pass state-level legislation to provide tuition assistance (TAP) to undocumented youth (DREAMers).

Introduced this session, the New York DREAM Act (A6829D/S4179D), would allow undocumented youth to access the State Tuition Assistance Plan, or TAP. In addition, the DREAM Fund (A8689B/S6883) would provide private support for undocumented youth to attend higher education.

Last Friday, President Obama announced that undocumented young people who met certain criteria could apply for temporary relief from deportation as well as work authorization. With these young people now able to work legally in the United States, opening up TAP would give them the tools to further their education and prepare for careers previously closed to them. It would further position New York as a leader in efforts to expand opportunity for all young people, regardless of status, to the benefit not only of the students but also of the state’s economy.

“When faced with a Congress in an intractable state of paralysis, the President at last did what was in his power to do to provide them some relief,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Surely New York should be true to its history and do what’s in its power to do – make it possible for motivated young people to pursue higher education by offering state tuition assistance to them. Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Skelos have three days till the close of the legislative session to capitalize on the momentum created at the federal level, to be responsive to the urgency in the voices of young DREAMers across the state, and to make sure that their dreams are no longer deferred.”

Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation, said: “As the President has taken the necessary step in providing relief and opportunity for the nation’s DREAMers, it is urgent that Governor Cuomo keeps New York at the forefront of economic and equitable progress by promoting the passage of DREAM legislation in the NYS legislature. We recognize that the Obama announcement, positive as it is, does not fix our broken immigration system. New York State’s leadership must move forward with our nation and pass DREAM legislation to give our youth equal access to education.”

Sr. Kelly Carpenter Esq., Director of Cabrini Immigrant Services said: “Cabrini Immigrant Services in New York City (CIS-NYC) thanks president Obama for last Friday’s announcement, which will stop deportations and grant work permits to some undocumented students. This is a great first step toward federal DREAM Act legislation which our immigrant families have been waiting for over a decade. Unfortunately, thousand of DREAMers in our state still have no access to state financial aid to pay for their education, so it is urgent that the legislature and Governor Cuomo follow in the footsteps of president Obama and the right thing for our communities and economy by passing the pending the New York DREAM Fund which would provide private scholarships and the DREAM Act which would provide access to the state-funded Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible undocumented students.”

Dr. Diane Steinman, Director, NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform said: “Now that the Obama Administration has granted deferred action for Dream-Act eligible youth, and they are eligible to apply for work authorization, Albany lawmakers must do their part and pass the NYS Dream Act - not only because enabling Dreamers to afford a college education and will contribute the long-term health and vitality of New York's economy, but also because it is the morally right thing to do for young people who want only to follow their dreams and help build the New York and America of tomorrow.”

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