The following is a statement from Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at the Center for American Progress, on the introduction of the DREAM Act today in the U.S. House and Senate:
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-NV), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and their colleagues, as well as Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), are to be commended for reintroducing the Development Relief and Education of Alien Minors or DREAM Act today. Thirty-two senators have signed on as co-sponsors in a testament to the importance of this legislation and its broad support in Congress. We also want to acknowledge and congratulate Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Chris Coons (D-DE) for signing on as original co-sponsors for the first time.
The DREAM Act is a sensible bill with strict requirements for a defined group of immigrant youth. It provides a tough but fair pathway to legal status for undocumented children who complete high school and some college or military service. The bill recognizes the basic moral principle that children brought to this country at a young age, and who know no other home, should not be destined to living their lives on the margins of society. But this bill makes economic as well as moral sense. Passing this legislation will allow these youths to advance their studies or join the military, and to realize their full economic potential. That is good for America and according to one study could add $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy in additional earnings over their lifetimes.
To be sure, the DREAM Act will not solve all of our immigration issues. But everyone should be able to agree that creating opportunities for the next generation of leaders in this country is something we can and should do now. Ultimately, Congress will need to overcome the partisan gridlock that has blocked the long overdue and desperately needed overhaul of our nation’s immigration policies. Passing the DREAM Act would be a good step forward toward breaking that logjam.
The DREAM Act passed the House in December, and it came within a few votes of passing the Senate, with a majority of senators voting in favor. We can do better. Let’s pass the DREAM Act now.
To speak to CAP’s experts on this issue, please contact Raul Arce-Contreras at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.5318.