DREAM Act Introduction Shows Momentum is Building for Immigration Reform
March 26, 2009
Washington, DC – Today, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lincoln Díaz-Balart (R-FL) and several other Republican and Democratic Representatives introduced in both chambers the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act or DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation that will benefit talented immigrant kids who attend college or serve in the military. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan pro-immigrant advocacy organization based in Washington.
Today’s introduction of the DREAM Act is yet another indication Congress is getting ready to reform our broken immigration system. The DREAM Act is an important component of immigration reform and we expect it to be part of the broad reforms that Congress will debate this year. Its introduction shows that the political will needed to achieve comprehensive immigration reform is growing, highlighted by the strong commitment voiced by leaders who are central to the effort to get legislation passed — including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Obama.
The DREAM Act addresses the plight of young immigrant students who were brought to the U.S. as children through no fault of their own and who were raised in the United States, call America home, and will most likely live the rest of their lives here. Their future hangs in the balance.
This bipartisan bill offers a practical solution. Placing higher education and citizenship out of reach for hard-working immigrant students does not force them to leave our country—the only country they call home. Instead, it forces them to remain in the underground workforce while America is deprived of the increased economic productivity and the tax revenues provided by a better-educated workforce.
It’s time to restore the American ideal of equal opportunity for these young people who want to be productive contributors to our society. The DREAM Act is an important component in the fight to reform our immigration system in a manner that strengthens our economic competitiveness, upholds our values as a nation of immigrants, and restores the rule of law.