I would like to thank Senator Durbin for making it possible for me to be here today to be part of this event. I am proud to participate and support his efforts on behalf of the DREAM Act. His commitment and leadership on this issue has only been matched by the DREAM students themselves, and I know he will not rest until he is standing behind the President as he signs the bill into law.
Let me just say a few words. First, on behalf of my brother bishops, I would like to reaffirm the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for the DREAM Act. Through our Migration Committee, we plan to promote the DREAM Sabbath with all of the bishops, so we can educate more Catholics about it and the urgent need for its passage. In fact, the Archdiocese of Washington, of which I am proud to be a member, will be working very hard to defeat a referendum in Maryland to repeal a law which provides in-state tuition to DREAM students.
Second, I have been in Washington for a while now, and am starting to learn some of the political aspects that go into making policy decisions. Often “conventional wisdom”—I am not sure what that is or where it comes from---perhaps it is a noisy rooster shouting from the top of the Washington monument ---will be injected into the discussion of an issue. “Conventional wisdom” suggests that this bill will pass or that bill will not pass—and more often than not these two words have more to say about how an issue goes than our elected officials do.
Well, with regard to the DREAM Act in this 112th Congress, ‘conventional wisdom” has already suggested that the votes are not there for the DREAM Act. Well, all of us are just going to ignore that crowing rooster. The DREAM students, Senator Durbin, and all the faith leaders present and their congregations are not going away. We will continue to raise this issue up to all Americans and all members of Congress. This is too important, as the future of hundreds of thousands of young persons depend upon it.
These young persons, who are for all practical purposes Americans like the rest of us, love this country so much that they are willing to risk deportation in order to advocate for their American citizenship. Why would we not want to embrace their courage, dedication, energy, and talents? These are the characteristics which have helped make our nation great. It would be to our detriment as a nation to deny them this opportunity.
Again, thank you for having me, Senator Durbin, and know of the commitment of the U.S. Catholic Bishops and my own to this legislation.