Do Council Candidates Support The DREAM Act?

Brent Finnegan -- October 27th, 2010

This is part seven of an ongoing Q&A series with candidates for Harrisonburg City Council.

The current council unanimously supported a resolution in favor of the DREAM Act. When are such resolutions on national issues appropriate? Do you support that specific legislation?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Carolyn Frank: When a large group of supporters fill council chambers in support of the resolution and ask council to adopt it! The voters will decide if it was appropriate. All council members met with the local champion of the Dream Act, Isabel and friend Nicole. My support is based on the belief that these exemplary young people should have a reasonable pathway to residency. The Dream Act provides that pathway. As a community we have invested in their education. The Federal Law says we must educate all students and cannot ask about legal status. Isabel was arrested in Washington, went to trail and was released. She was not deported. What I hear most from citizens concerning immigration is; they need to assimilate and learn English. Well, these young people know English, are well-respected in their school and community. Exactly, the kind of citizens we want in America. The dispute comes with how they entered the country which was illegally. A decision they did not make, they obeyed their parents and followed. America is about dreams and hope. I want to see these young people have an opportunity to use their education and abilities to serve their community.

[Read the Wikipedia entry about the DREAM Act]

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Charlie Chenault: I support the general tenor of the resolution, but passing resolutions on national issues that Council probably does not even have indirect control over can become a slippery slope. I will not punt the ball however. I feel that the Dream Act could become a better piece of legislation. The Act provides shelter for only those attending college and entering the military. I am concerned that it does not address the remaining high school graduates who have done well academically and have conducted themselves honorably. They should be able to afford themselves of this same opportunity when they enter the job market after graduation. Also, the act is too cumbersome. If a high school graduate has been here long enough to demonstrate a graduating academic record and honorable conduct track record which includes a record of appropriate public service, he or she should be able to take the citizenship test just after graduation or within an appropriate period of time thereafter if time is need to establish a sustainable record. I know of local small business employers who follow the law and have tried to keep their young deportable alien employees here because they are good workers and good people, but hit a brick wall because their charges time has run out. In my various capacities in the community, I have occasion to review various scholarship applications each year. More and more applications are being submitted by immigrants and the quality of the applications tells me that we should want these young men and women in our country.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Ted Byrd: During my term on council, we have taken positions on national and state issues. We have registered our comments with the National Forest Service in regard to their Long Range Plan, passed resolutions encouraging federal investment in pilot rail transportation projects that would remove some of the tractor trailers from Interstate 81 and piggy back them through the valley on the back of trains, and most recently, passed a resolution encouraging our General Assembly to cap pay day loans at 36% interest (we did this twice). There are times when it is important to let higher branches of government know what we think. I did support the Dream Act.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Joe Fitzgerald: Resolutions such as this one are appropriate when the issue has a major impact on the Harrisonburg community, or when a legitimate citizens group asks the council to take a stand. I do strongly support the DREAM Act. It’s a path to citizenship for the innocent bystanders of the immigration battle.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

UPDATED:

Greg Coffman: When you realize that this legislation has been defeated in Congress several times over the years, it is apparent that there are serious legal questions that go beyond the scope of our locality. I think City Council has enough local issues to resolve and needs to stay focused on those items over which it has control.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Sal Romero: Although City Council has no legal authority over any federal legislation, I believe it has the freedom to voice its stand on any specify piece of legislation that is directly impacting the residents of Harrisonburg. This particular legislation would allow a great number of talented individual’s pursuit their careers goals and service our community and country. We as a community are investing in these children throughout their elementary and secondary education and should support them as they meet their higher education goals or service our arm forces. I support the DREAM Act one hundred percent because it is would recognized the outstanding work of our DREAMERS and provide an opportunity for them as they have the willingness and desire to better themselves and our country.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Election day is Tuesday, November 2. Voters may select no more than two candidates from a field of six.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.