News

July 9, 2013

PA Dream Act

Every year, 800 Pennsylvania high school graduates walk out of their classrooms and into a world that is closed to them. American children, raised on American soil, are denied the American Dream because they lack the proper paperwork. LAMPa is mobilizing the Lutheran voice in the state to call for the passage of Senate Bill 713, the DREAM Act. These young people need you to stand with them, hear their stories and call on Harrisburg to honor their gifts and potential.  

SB 713, the Pennsylvania Dream Act, will improve college access for all youth across the Commonwealth.  The bill will provide the opportunity for undocumented students who have completed two years of high school in Pennsylvania, and graduated or have a GED certificate, to pay in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth. The PA Dream Act encourages youth to complete high school and pursue affordable higher education opportunities. Currently, many undocumented students are not able to afford the out-of-state tuition rates.  Studies have shown that high school dropout rates are lower in states with Dream Acts[1]. 

Here’s what you can do:

  • 1.      Visit, call or write your state Senator to voice your support for the Dream Act. Contact the LAMPa office for help preparing for the visit.
  • 2.      Host a Dreamer in your congregation to learn firsthand about the realities of living without documents in the only place you know as home and to put a human face on what is often a polarized issue. Contact the LAMPa office to find out how.
  • 3.      Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has DREAM Sabbath Materials to use in your weekend worship and to educate your community about this critical issue.

Implementation of the Dream Act will also provide a boon to the Commonwealth by supporting our families, colleges, businesses and communities. These youth and their families have already made significant contributions to the state. In 2010 alone, families headed by unauthorized immigrants paid approximately $135 million in Pennsylvaniastate and local taxes.[2]  The PA Dream Act would increase students’ potential, as college graduates, to contribute to Pennsylvania’s economy, tax base and enhance our state’s vitality. 

To date, 16 states have adopted in-state tuition policies for undocumented immigrants and a number of other states are considering similar legislation.  Be a part of helping Pennsylvania to number among them. Look for upcoming alerts and action opportunities.



[1] Casner-Lotto, J. (2012). Dreaming big: What community colleges can do to help undocumented immigrant youth achieve their potential. Community college consortium for immigrant education. Retrieved from http://www.cccie.org/images/stories/Dreaming_Big_final.pdf

[2] Immigration Policy Institute. Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes, Too. March 18, 2011. http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/unauthorized-immigrants-pay-taxes-too.

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