(Hartford, CT) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined immigration advocates and students at the Center for Latino Progress Monday to call for comprehensive immigration reform that includes pathways to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented individuals who might qualify.
“I applaud the President and my colleagues for starting an honest, bipartisan conversation about comprehensive immigration reform. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, I look forward to playing a leading role in advancing this reform agenda, which must include a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who qualify, particularly our DREAMers. These young students, brought to this country as infants and children through no fault of their own, who in many cases know no other home, must be provided a pathway to full citizenship and the opportunity to pursue the American dream. A comprehensive pathway to citizenship should enable parents of DREAMers along with their children and others to contribute their skills and hard work to their communities and our country," Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal has been an outspoken advocate for the DREAM Act, which would provide qualifying undocumented youth a pathway to citizenship after completing a college degree or two years of military service. Blumenthal delivers regular speeches on the Senate floor about a Connecticut DREAMer, reminding his colleagues and the public of the urgent need for reform.
“These students need the certainty and security of a law that gives them a real path to citizenship now—not at some point in the indefinite future. The DREAM Act deserves passage now. I will continue to speak on the Senate floor, bringing photographs of Connecticut DREAMers, until meaningful reform is enacted for these students,” Blumenthal stated.
“Comprehensive Immigration Reform would be a tribute to the heritage of the United States, a nation of immigrants. We need reform right now. Everyday our organization works with families who work hard, pay taxes, contribute to society and whose children even defend our country in Afghanistan. Reform with its background checks would even contribute to the overall security of our country,” said Jennifer Thampan, Associate Director of Immigration Services for the International Institute of Connecticut.
Connecticut Students for a DREAM urged comprehensive reform for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. They stated:
"DREAMers and our community have made our power known to politicians of both parties and we won’t let up. Yes, yes we are DREAMers, yes we have Deferred Action – but this is NOT enough - its time for a pathway to citzenship for the 11 million. Our families, our communities need and deserve a pathway to citizenship and safety. It's time to reframe the debate. Yes, we are DREAMers, it's time to leave out 'through no fault of our own.' Our families have stories too, and it’s time for those stories to be heard. It time for us to fight for our parents who sacrificed so much so that we could have a better life, a great education, and a shot at the American dream. CT Students for a DREAM will fight for every DREAMer, parent, and member of our community, demanding that we all have a direct and clear path to citizenship, not one that hinges on lengthy waits in a generation-long line or on further militarizing our border or imposing excessive, costly enforcement measures."
In addition to his longstanding support for comprehensive immigration reform, Blumenthal last week joined senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in introducing the bipartisan Immigration Innovation Act of 2013. Known as the “I-squared bill,” the legislation would increase the amount of visas and green cards for highly-skilled workers in science and technology.
“This measure is about American competitiveness. We need to make STEM education a priority here for our young people and create jobs and opportunities for American workers. We must also honor the immigrant roots of our nation and create opportunities for people from throughout the world to come here and support our thriving innovative sectors,” Blumenthal said.