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Local group pushes importance of DREAM Act

November 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
An immigrant rights group is headed to Sacramento to promote the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to achieve legal status by going to college or joining the military.The group gathered Tuesday for the first of what will be a series of rallies across the state.

Led by the immigrant-rights group Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), they went into Republican Congressman David Dreier's San Dimas office Tuesday morning asking to meet with staff to urge the congressman, who cosponsored a version of the DREAM Act in 2003, to support the 2010 version

"So unfortunately he won't be able to meet with you this morning. I do apologize for that," said Dreier aide Richard Rea. "I would suggest follow up with us for your meeting request so we can make an appropriate time for you to meet with us."

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Minors Act), if passed, would give high school graduates who were brought into this country illegally as minors and who have two years of college or served two years in the U.S. military conditional residency.

"It's going to give me the chance to transfer to a four-year university. It's going to give me the opportunity to apply for federal loans, to work legally, and therefore pay for my education," said undocumented community college student Justino Mora.

From Dreier's office in San Dimas, the group made its way to Pasadena to get a meeting with the representative from Congressman Adam Schiff's office. They got the meeting, but no cameras were allowed in as five members of the group met with the Democratic congressman's staff.

"Well, his staff says that he will continue to be supportive and he hopes that this Congress, and this end-of-lame-duck session, it actually gets passed," said Maria Rodriguez.

There was a rally to support the DREAM Act in Anaheim.

"I feel that you need to come here legally, and to be given all of the privileges of a citizen, I just feel it's wrong," said Patricia Detterich, a retired teacher.

No definite word on when or if a vote will take place in Congress.