Reply From Dick Durbin Regarding Dream Act!

8 Jan

Dear Mr. Freedom Writer:

Thank you for contacting me about the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. I appreciate hearing from you. The DREAM Act, which I first introduced with bipartisan support in 2003, would provide a path to permanent residence to undocumented young people who have proven their desire to fulfill the American dream. These young people did not make the choice to come here; they were brought to the United States as children. Often, these young people did not discover until much later that the decisions made by their parents left them without a country to call their own.

Since arriving here they have attended school, learned English, and contributed to their communities, and they want to be productive members of our society. There is currently no way for these deserving young people to legally earn permanent residency in the United States or U.S. citizenship. The DREAM Act provides them with that opportunity. In return, the bill requires that these young people prove themselves by satisfying several requirements, all of which must be verified by appropriate documentation. In order to qualify for residency under the DREAM Act, these members of our communities must have come to our country before the age of 16 and be younger than 30 years old on the date the bill is enacted. Further, they must have lived here for at least five years before the bill becomes law. They also must refrain from criminal behavior, and they must have earned a high school degree. Most importantly, they must either complete two years of college or serve at least two years in the military. I believe our country would benefit greatly if young people who meet these conditions are given the chance to become U.S. citizens.

The DREAM Act would help our military, which faces a serious recruitment crisis. Under the DREAM Act, tens of thousands of well-qualified potential recruits would become eligible for military service. Defense Department officials have said that the DREAM Act is “very appealing” to the military because it would apply to the “cream of the crop” of students. They have concluded that the DREAM Act would be good for military readiness. For those who pursue college, the DREAM Act provides the opportunity to become an American scientist, nurse, teacher, or engineer, or to pursue any other profession that requires a college education.

Since 2003, we have watched intelligent, ambitious students graduate from high school only to end up in low-wage undocumented jobs because they cannot attend college or work legally. As a result, the United States loses future leaders and social vibrancy as well as tax revenue and economic growth. I understand the concerns some have about the expense of the DREAM Act. This bill does not provide free financial aid to any individual. The bill allows states to decide whether their undocumented students should be eligible for in-state tuition. I have led the effort in Congress to make college more affordable for middle-class American families, and I will continue to support such efforts. Some opponents of this legislation suggest that it would encourage illegal immigration or that it would provide amnesty to illegal immigrants. This is not the case. Applicants are required to have already been in the country for at least five years before enactment of the DREAM Act. Furthermore, family members of DREAM Act applicants would remain ineligible for legal status.

As a result, the measure cannot be a lure for illegal immigration. There is no doubt that our current immigration system must be reformed. We need reforms that are tough and enforceable but also fair and consistent with our nation’s values. I have consistently supported efforts to deter illegal immigration and increase the security of our borders. The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 provided $775 million in Fiscal Year 2009 funding to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology. I supported this appropriations bill along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included $680 million in emergency funding to CBP for its mission. In December 2010, an effort to move to consideration of the bill failed 55 to 41.

I will keep your concerns in mind if the Senate takes up this bill or related legislation in the future. Thank you again for your message.

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

Freedom Writer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: