OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – While attending the annual meeting of the National Lt. Governors Association (NLGA), Lt. Governor Sheila Simon added her name to a resolution in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Legislation has passed the U.S. Senate but is awaiting action by the House of Representatives.
“When immigrant children have access to quality education, they are better prepared to join the workforce and help boost our economy, which is good for all of us,” said Simon, the Midwest Region Chair of the NLGA. “In Illinois, we have taken steps to help these young people succeed and begin their paths to citizenship.”
The Illinois Dream Fund is already helping young undocumented immigrants receive higher educations. Qualified high school graduates can apply for assistance through the privately-funded program to receive help with college tuition. More than 1,400 applications were received, and $100,000 in scholarship money was awarded to students for the 2013-2014 academic year. All recipients are undocumented immigrants attending schools that included Dartmouth and the University of Illinois.
“The young people receiving tuition aid through the Illinois Dream Fund are truly living the American dream,” Simon added. “They will be able to benefit their communities as professionals and innovators.”
Simon signed onto the bipartisan resolution supporting immigration reform and a way for foreign students to become valued members of the U.S. workforce. The U.S. Senate has passed immigration reform that would improve border safety and provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Despite passing the Senate with bipartisan support, the legislation currently awaits action in the House of Representatives.
Full text of the resolution follows.
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF COMPREHENSIVE BIPARTISAN IMMIGRATION REFORM
WHEREAS, members of the National Lieutenant Governors Association are leaders in our states who are concerned about national and economic security, and are adding our bipartisan voices in support of comprehensive immigration reform;
WHEREAS, we all recognize that immigrants contribute a great deal to our economy and our culture;
WHEREAS, we as a nation need to build a common sense immigration system that reflects our nation’s values and strengthens our national and state economies;
WHEREAS, our immigration system should require that individuals play by the same rules but also have the same opportunities to succeed;
WHEREAS, we support an immigration system that provides a fair pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals currently in our country, and recognize that with these rights come responsibilities;
WHEREAS, we support an immigration plan that provides visas to foreign graduate students in science and math who came to this country for an education so these individuals can contribute to the growth of our national and state innovative economies. Our nation invested a lot of resources to attract these students and we should seek a return on this investment;
WHEREAS, we support continued efforts to improve our border security and strengthen criminal penalties to combat human trafficking and disrupt transnational criminal organizations that smuggle drugs and illegal weapons into our country. We should continue to invest resources in these areas to ensure that those who wish to take advantage of all our nation has to offer do so legally;
WHEREAS, two great leaders of our respective political parties President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill showed leadership on the issue of immigration as well as others by finding common ground. In the spirit of that partnership and our nation’s past successes we encourage you to support comprehensive immigration reform;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Lieutenant Governors Association recommends that the President and Congress act with a sense of urgency and in a meaningful and responsible manner to adopt bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation that reflects the values of our nation and contributes to the growth of our national and state economies;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the President, Vice‐President, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, and the eight U.S. Senators leading the work on immigration (Senators McCain, Durbin, Schumer, Flake, Graham, Menendez, Rubio and Bennet).