Speaker of the House Urges Federal Delegation to Support DREAM Act

Our country is based on the ideals that we are all created equal, that we all deserve a chance to reach our full potential, and that we share a responsibility to raise our voices and act to secure these values for the next generation.

Good afternoon, I’m Sara Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. Thanks for tuning in.

Last week, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, also know known as DACA, was rescinded by the Trump Administration. This program was created under President Obama and provided a pathway to citizenship and shielded young immigrants from deportation. Without the action of Congress, these students and graduates, who contribute to our country, our military, and economy, will face an uncertain future.

This week in response, I decided to issue a letter to our members of Congress – Senator King and Senator Collins, Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Poliquin – asking them to support the bipartisan DREAM Act. Representative Pingree has already signed on as a cosponsor of House version of this bill and I urged her colleagues to join her.

The DREAM Act would address the difficulty faced by undocumented youth living in the United States, many of whom were brought here at a young age and consider America their only home. It would allow them to gain conditional legal status and to pursue their educational and employment goals – without threat of deportation. And it is supported by both Republican and Democratic elected officials.

I wrote this letter in my formal role as Speaker of the House, but it is for more personal reasons that I care so deeply about this policy. You see, my father emigrated here from India. And my mother is a first generation American herself, one of five girls born to her parents who barely escaped the Armenian Genocide as children.

Their story of immigration is one shared by families across our country and provided me the deepest understanding of what the idea and spirit of America really is.

The young women and men who would be impacted by the DREAM Act contribute to our economy, serve in our armed forces, achieve in our universities, and are leaders in our communities.

It is in the best interest for both Maine and our entire country to implement policies that will ensure that all our children have the ability to achieve their full potential. Support of this legislation would provide immigrant students who have grown up here with the opportunity to achieve the American dream and give back to the country they already call home.

It’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. And it’s up to all of us to step up and speak out on their behalf and on behalf of our values as Americans. I hope you join me in this opportunity to improve the wellbeing of children and families not only in our beloved state of Maine, but our beloved nation.

I’m Speaker Sara Gideon. Thank you for listening.