Social Justice Advocates DREAM of Immigration ReformationDecember 7, 2010

Students from Rockhurst University’s social justice organization, VOICES for Justice, visited with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s staff on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010, to advocate for the DREAM Act as the first step toward comprehensive immigration reform.

The students from VOICES (which stands for “Voicing Our Ideas Can Ease Suffering”) felt a call to action after hearing the story of a Rockhurst sophomore mourning the death of her grandfather, who offered her the only hope of becoming a documented United States citizen. Without his help she risks deportation, despite the fact that she is a highly educated individual who has lived in the United States for most of her life. “The story she told VOICES was very emotional,” said VOICES member, Elizabeth Ferrante. “We decided to take it upon ourselves to talk to Sen. McCaskill and fight for such a deserving person.”

The DREAM ("Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors") Act would give undocumented immigrant students, who have been living in the U.S. since they were young, a chance to contribute back to the country that has given so much to them and to utilize their hard earned education and talents. The act would provide a pathway to legal citizenship for children who were brought to this country by their undocumented parents, provided that they are of good moral character and that they either enlist in the military or complete at least two years of college.

“I believe in the DREAM Act because I want such motivated and educated people working toward bettering the society that I live in,” said Ferrante.

According to Sen. McCaskill’s staffer, Corey Dillon, approximately 70% of Missouri citizens are against immigration reform. Ferrante said the best way to advocate for the DREAM Act is to work toward educating citizens on immigration reform and the benefits it will have to society.

“The Church has supported the DREAM Act for 10 years now because we see it as a path for students who were brought to the United States by their parents,” said Jude Huntz, director of human rights for the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. “This is an act of simple justice, so that they may have a better future.”

Rockhurst University Campus Ministry, in conjunction with the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, will sponsor an immigration conference on the Rockhurst University campus on Feb. 4-5, 2011. The conference will feature keynote speaker Bishop George Murry, S.J. of Youngstown, Ohio, and a border crossing experience reflection eliciting assistance from organizations such as the Bishop Sullivan Center, El Centro, and Guadalupe Centers, Inc. For more information about the immigration conference or to register your attendance, contact Jude Huntz at (816) 756-1858.

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