In the coming days, Congress will vote on the DREAM Act – a common-sense piece of legislation drafted by both Republicans and Democrats that will give young people who grew up in the United States a chance to contribute to our nation by pursuing a higher education or serving in the U.S. armed forces. It’s limited, targeted legislation that will allow only the best and brightest to earn their legal status, and applies to those brought to the United States as minors through no fault of their own by their parents, and who know no other home.
Here are 10 reasons we need the DREAM Act:
- Like Ginkgo Biloba, It’ll Make Us Smarter: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has stated that passing the DREAM Act will “play an important part in the nation’s efforts to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020,” something vital for America to remain competitive in today’s global economy.
- For Ivan Rosales: With the DREAM Act, young people like Ivan Rosales, who came to the United States when he was a year old, can become doctors and work towards a cure for cancer. Ivan’s brother, a National Guardsman, and his brother-in-law, an Iraq veteran, inspired his dream to serve as a doctor in the military, before going on to work as a cancer researcher. Without the DREAM Act, Ivan and others like him have no way to even stay in the country, much less serve it.
- Uncle Sam Says, The DREAM Act supports our troops: Secretary of Defense Gates has written to DREAM Act sponsors citing the rich precedent of non-citizens serving in the U.S. military and stating that “the DREAM Act represents an opportunity to expand [the recruiting] pool, to the advantage of military recruiting and readiness.
- For Gaby Pacheco: So Gaby Pacheco, who was the highest ranked J-ROTC student in her high school and president of her college student government, can serve in the Air Force and eventually live out her dream of working with special needs children.
- It Helps Separate The Bad Guys From The Good Guys: Secretary Napolitano believes this targeted legislation provides a firm but fair way to deal with innocent children brought to the U.S. at a young age so that the Department of Homeland Security can dedicate their enforcement resources to detaining and deporting criminals and those who pose a threat to our country.
- For David Cho: So David Cho, who graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA, plays seven instruments and is the drum major at UCLA, can live his dream of serving the United States in the Air Force.
- It’s Bipartisan: The DREAM Act is a bipartisan piece of legislation designed to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by giving them the chance to obtain legal status by pursuing a higher education, or by serving in the U.S. armed forces for the country they've grown up in and love as their own.
- For Cesar Vargas: So Cesar Vargas, a proud Brooklyn kid, can live his dream to serve in the military as a JAG officer or on the front line as an intelligence officer with the Marines. He wants to “earn [his] place next to the great heroes of our nation that have and are fighting to defend our Constitution."
- It Will Help Our Economy: According to a recent UCLA study, students that would be impacted by the DREAM Act could add between $1.4 to $3.6 trillion in taxable income to our economy over the course of careers, depending on how many ultimately gain legal status. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the DREAM Act in its current form will cut the deficit by $1.4 billion and increase government revenues by $2.3 billion over the next 10 years.
- It’s The Right Thing To Do: It’s just plain common sense and it’s the right thing to do. For more information on the DREAM Act, view the fact sheet.
Stephanie Valencia is an Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement