Bill Would Provide Equal Treatment and a Path to Citizenship for All Deserving Young Immigrants
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WASHINGTON – In a statement today to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, the American Civil Liberties Union reaffirmed its support for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S.952, introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and co-sponsored by 34 senators. The DREAM Act promotes fundamental fairness for young people by allowing access to affordable post-secondary education and military service opportunities, regardless of immigration status, and would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, have lived here for at least five years and have graduated from high school.
During today’s hearing, the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, both reiterated the Obama administration’s support for the bill. Secretary Duncan pointed out that the United States has dropped from first in the world in our number of college graduates to ninth, which has had a dramatic impact on our country’s economy. He added that the DREAM Act could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in additional tax revenue from tapping the potential of DREAM-eligible students and future service personnel.
Clifford Stanley, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness noted during his testimony that since September 11, 2001, more than 69,000 immigrants have earned citizenship while serving, and more than 125 who entered military service after that date have made the ultimate sacrifice in war by giving their lives for this nation.
The DREAM Act came close to passage in the previous Congress, passing in the House and falling just five votes short of the 60 required to move forward in the Senate.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
“Passage of the DREAM Act will help to fulfill the American promise of fairness, equality and opportunity for all and is long overdue. Those who stand to benefit from this bill are talented, motivated young adults aspiring to attend college and serve our military, after overcoming many obstacles. DREAMers are already valued members of our communities. Helping our young people achieve their dreams and pursue a better future as citizens of this nation should be a top priority for Congress. We urge both the House and Senate to pass this quintessentially American bill.”
The statement submitted to the subcommittee by the ACLU can be found here: www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/aclu-statement-submitted-senate-judiciary-subcommittee-immigration-refugees-and