Immigrants Have New York DREAM

Albany, NY – The New York State Youth Leadership Council has spearheaded an immigrant youth movement which has garnered support for a state version of the recently defeated federal DREAM ACT. The legislation would have provided a path for citizenship to undocumented youth. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Both the Senate and Assembly have versions of a bill that would provide benefits to New York undocumented youth who meet certain criteria. The benefits include access to financial aid for higher education, access to driver's licenses, work authorization and access to health care. To qualify, the young person would have had to come to the U.S. before age 16, lived here for at least two years and apply for the benefits before they turn 35.

Leadership Council member Daniela Alulema came to the U.S. when she was 14. Now 24, the undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant lives in Queens. This week, State Senator Bill Perkins introduced the New York DREAM Act , co-sponsored by fellow-democratic State Senator Dan Squadron. Perkins says the bill would give young immigrants the opportunity to live the American Dream.

Democratic Assemblyman Guillermo Linares is slated to introduce an Assembly version of the New York Dream Act. Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco was one of those who strongly opposed Governor Eliot Spitzer's failed proposal to grant drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants... his views endure.

President Barack Obama toured Latin America this week. He told reporters there that he remains committed to seeking a comphrehensive overhaul of immigration law that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for years, and have jobs and families.

A call to Governor Cuomo's office to get his take on the New York Dream Act was not returned in time for broadcast.