Acting on a Dream: The Administration Speaks Out in Strong Support of the DREAM Act
This week, top Administration officials testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security and an audience of nearly 400 individuals during the first-ever Senate hearing on the recently re-introduced Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S. 952).
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Dr. Clifford Stanley, reiterated the President’s strong support of the DREAM Act and explained how the DREAM Act is good for our economy and global competiveness, our security, and nation’s military readiness. That’s why Congress should support and swiftly pass the DREAM Act.
Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan:
Opening the doors of higher education to more talented youth will generate substantial additional income, and by extension, tax revenue. According to a 2010 study from the University of California, Los Angeles, the total number of students who would benefit from the DREAM Act could generate between $1.4 and $3.6 trillion dollars over their working lifetimes. Taxes paid on those earnings could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in additional tax revenue.
Passing the DREAM Act will give promising young people an opportunity to achieve the American dream. And, in the process, we will sustain our economic competitiveness into the future. I strongly urge you to enact this solid, commonsense policy. Our nation will be better for it.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
Over the past two years, we have focused enforcement resources on identifying criminal aliens and those who pose the greatest security threats to our communities. The DREAM Act supports these important priorities because only individuals of good moral character who have not committed any crime that would make them inadmissible to the United States would be eligible for DREAM Act relief.
Only young people who have met requirements regarding moral character and criminal records, and who are poised to contribute to our country, would be eligible. These individuals do not represent a risk to public safety or security. As the President has said, it makes no sense to be using our enforcement resources against young people who have known no other country but this one, and who have shown their desire to study and serve.
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Dr. Clifford Stanley:
Since the birth of our nation, non-citizens have served and continue to serve honorably in the military. Throughout past and current conflicts, those who are not yet citizens, but call the United States of America home, have answered the call to defend their adopted nation. Passage of the DREAM Act would offer eligible youth the opportunity to serve this nation and would continue this tradition, while allowing the Department to expand the market of high-quality youth to the advantage of military recruitment and readiness.
To learn more about the DREAM Act hearing and read the official testimony of all witnesses, visit the Senate Judiciary Committee's website.
Felicia Escobar is Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration at the Domestic Policy Council.