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Educators welcome progress on commonsense immigration reform

Bipartisan Senate bill offers a pathway to citizenship for millions of aspiring new Americans

WASHINGTON - May 22, 2013 -

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee adopted bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s broken immigration laws for the first time in decades. NEA is a vocal, unequivocal advocate of commonsense immigration reform because for far too long educators have witnessed the impact the current immigration system has had on students, families and communities around the country.

The adopted legislation includes a number of key provisions beneficial to students and families of aspiring new Americans.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement:

“After years of waiting in the shadows of society, thanks to the grueling bipartisan work of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today millions of aspiring new Americans are a step closer to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. As educators, we are pleased that the bill reflects our values and robust tradition as a nation of immigrants, creating a common-sense immigration process for aspiring Americans, one that includes a roadmap for them to become citizens.

“We welcome the DREAM Act provision granting a five year path to citizenship for those who entered the U.S. before age 16 who have either completed high school, earned a G.E.D., earned a college degree or served four years of military service – the most progressive legislative language on the DREAM Act introduced to date. As a country, society will continue to reap the benefits of their hard work, ingenuity and achievements for years to come.

“The bipartisan Senate bill also stays true to our country’s ideal of keeping families together by expanding the family unification and reunification provisions. We agree that efficient, fair, and effective avenues for legal, family-based immigration are vital to keeping America strong. Reuniting families separated by current arcane, bureaucratic immigration laws will provide significant benefit to children, who will be able to receive the full support and care provided by unified families.

“We urge the Senate to move swiftly and in a bipartisan fashion on this important piece of legislation. We thank the Senate Judiciary Committee for its leadership on this issue—especially the Gang of 8—and we look forward to working with the full Senate to strengthen the bill and move common-sense immigration reform forward for aspiring new Americans. We call on the U.S. House of Representatives and Republican leaders to follow in the footsteps of the Senate Judiciary Committee and move swiftly to pass immigration reform.”


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The National Education Association ( is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez

(202) 822-7823,