The DREAM Act: Investing in America’s Future

September 22, 2011

Every year an estimated 65,000 bright, enthusiastic immigrant youth graduate from American high schools, only to find that they face a dim future of limited opportunities ahead. These young immigrants were brought to this country as children, have grown up in the U.S., excelled in school, and are American in every sense except for their papers.

Their dreams for a better future are crushed by the reality that they cannot attend college, qualify for most college aid or work legally. If these young immigrants are given a chance, they will hone their talents through education or the armed services and contribute to our nation’s economy.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is narrowly tailored and traditionally bipartisan legislation. The DREAM Act will open the door of earned citizenship to unauthorized youth who:

  • have lived in the United States for at least five years;
  • graduated from high school;
  • are of good moral character,
  • complete at least two years of college or military service.

The DREAM Act is a Wise Investment in our Economy and Safety

According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, passage of the DREAM Act will reduce our nation’s debt with $1.4 billion in new revenue over 10 years, since immigrant youth will be able to pursue higher education and have the opportunity to actually use their college degrees to boost their income (thus resulting in increased tax revenue).

Moreover, the DREAM Act would increase the pool of bilingual and highly qualified recruits for the U.S. military. Current and former military leaders agree. Robert Gates was Secretary of Defense in 2010 when he urged members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act, because it would be an opportunity to expand the pool of non-citizens serving in the military “to the advantage of military recruiting and readiness.” Former Secretary of State, Ret. General Colin Powell said in 2010 that we should invest more in education, and that we “should use the DREAM Act as one way to do it.”

The DREAM Act guards our nation’s investment in the education of its youth and ensures that America will reap the benefits of those investments.