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One day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he will bring the DREAM Act to the floor as a stand-alone measure during the lame-duck session, DREAM-eligible youth joined civil rights and faith leaders at the National Press Club to call on Congress to pass the DREAM Act before the end of 2010.
Speakers highlighted the importance of passing the DREAM Act and echoed the widespread support for the bill.
Archbishop Jose Gomez, Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, urged Congress to stand up, saying:
“There are times when Congress must act because it is the right and just thing to do. This is one of those times. With the passage of the DREAM Act, we can welcome a new generation of Americans who will one day become the leaders of our nation.”
Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, Associate Professor at UCLA and Founder/Director of the North American Integration and Development (NAID) Center. highlighted a new UCLA NAID report, “No DREAMers Left Behind: The Economic Impacts of Dream Act Beneficiaries.” The report shows that passing the DREAM Act would have a $3.6 trillion dollar impact on the economy, proving that not only is the DREAM Act a practical solution to one aspect of our broken immigration system, but it also good for our economy.
“These study results add an economic justification to the existing moral and practical arguments for the DREAM Act. Passage of this legislation is sensible economic policy that represents a return on U.S. taxpayers’ investment in public education – to the tune of $3.6 trillion in income alone.”
Andrea Nill also highlights the UCLA report over at the Wonk Room:
“Another positive effect of the DREAM Act would be that ‘[a] higher supply of skilled students would also advance the U.S. global competitive position in science, technology, medicine, education and many other endeavors…’
Even former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) agrees with that logic, saying, ‘the economy will be better when that [undocumented] kid is able to fully realize his potential and break the pattern of his parent’s illegal activity.’”
Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights laid out why passing the DREAM Act means standing up for American values:
“Our immigration laws tell these youth to give up and stop trying to fulfill their potential. It is the kind of message that goes against every ideal that our great nation has worked so hard to realize. The upcoming vote is an important test to see who in Congress is willing to do what is right, for our nation and for the tens of thousands of young Americans whose futures depend on the DREAM Act. America and these young scholars cannot afford to wait another day.”