National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Rivera to Immigrant Youth: No Dream for You Unless You Take ARMS

January 27, 2012

ARMS Act Is a Distortion of the DREAM Act

Washington, D.C.The Miami Herald reported on Friday that Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, filed the “Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act,” or ARMS Act. The legislation is a very limited version of the DREAM Act that would grant legal status to undocumented youth only if they serve in the military. The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.

“The introduction of the ARMS Act legislation during the Florida primary debate is politics at the expense of policy. We expect Florida voters to see right through this effort and demand better.”

“If the Republican Party wishes to show immigrant and Latino voters in Florida their genuine support for immigrant youth, it should commit to advance the DREAM Act, a historically bipartisan, poll-tested measure that would legalize the most talented immigrant youth as well as those serving in our armed forces.

“Let’s be clear, Rep. Rivera’s ARMS Act is a distortion of the DREAM Act. It excludes legalization through higher education, a key cornerstone of the DREAM Act, and it would provide the wrong incentives for military enlistment during a time of war. In the words of military expert Margaret Stock, ‘A military-only DREAM Act would also contradict the fundamental premise of the All-Volunteer Force, as many DREAM Act beneficiaries would be motivated to join the military out of a desperate desire to legalize their status, and not because they are truly interested in military service.’”

“All students deserve access to higher education and a prosperous future, even those who, through no fault of their own, came to this country and consider this country their own. By denying immigrant students the right to higher education, America is losing out on their entrepreneurship, productivity and economic contributions.”

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