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Join the 2013 National Dream Act Graduation and Wedding

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Earlier this month, the Lutheran Church of the Reformation of Washington DC announced that it will hold its annual National Dream Act Graduation representing children of undocumented workers in the US. This year, the event will have “Wedding” attached to its title, symbolizing same-sex couples who had been excluded from immigration reforms.

 

Each year, the church holds the Dream Graduation to speak up for children of undocumented immigrants who cannot work, drive or attend college due to their legal status. An estimated 65,000 children cannot apply to college, even after graduating from a US high school. However, some states, such as California, have made certain provisions for undocumented students, including law that ensures students to receive non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.

 

The event will be held on Tuesday, July 9 from 11 am to 7 pm and will include a graduation and wedding ceremony, a march to the Supreme Court and Capitol, and a set-up to lobby legislators.

 

The event's name corresponds to the bi-partisan “Dream Act” bill, which was introduced in 2001 to pave a way for undocumented children to obtain conditional permanent residency. It would have enabled teens 15 and under to drive, work, travel, and apply for student loans and federal work-study programs in the US. It was modified in 2011, to include children aged 12 to 30 who have entered the US before the age of 16, among other requirements. The Dream Act was re-introduced in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and most recently this January

 

Last June, Obama issued a policy for the government to provide work permits for Dream Act-eligible students, as well as halt their deportation. Yet, the decision was challenged this month, when the House voted to resume deportation of Dream Act-eligable students. 

 

Undocumented children will be recognized at the ceremony, alongside same-sex couples who formerly did not qualify for federal benefits of marriage.

 

Today, USA Today reported that a part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down to allow same-sex couples to secure green cards for their spouses. It came with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to allow same-sex couples to receive the equal federal benefits as heterosexual married couples, in states that allow same-sex marriages. 

 

Currently, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) community accounts for 3.5 percent of the US population. And, according to the Pew Research Center, a total of 80 percent of Americans believe homosexuality should be accepted in society. For a full review of LGBT demographics, visit Gallup.com here.

 

To participate in or learn more about the 2013 National DREAM Act Graduation and Wedding in Washington, DC, visit the Washington Peace Center event page here. You can also email info@theniya.org for more information, and RSVP here. The event will be held at the Lutheran Church of Reformation, at 212 East Capitol Street in Washington, DC.

 

To learn more about last year’s Dream Graduation, click here for a New York Times article. Also, you can view a sample of the 2012 DC Dream Act Graduation in front of the Supreme Court in the following clip. 

 

 

To petition Congress to pass the legislation retaining the principles of the Dream Act, view “The Dream is Now” short about the undocumented children of illegal immigrants and sign the petition at www.thedreamisnow.org. You can also learn more with United We Dream, a Washington-DC based organization that advocates for the just and fair treatment of immigrants, "regardless of immigrant status."