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McConnell to Immigrant Youth and Veterans: You are "Extraneous"

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DREAM Act Clearly Relevant to U.S. Military – Perhaps Sen. McConnell Should Read It

Washington, DC – Reacting to the news yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will file the DREAM Act as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called amendment “extraneous” and said it has “nothing to do with the bill.” 

The DREAM Act has nothing to do with the U.S. military?  Tell that to the thousands of immigrant youth who grew up in America, eager to serve in our nation’s armed forces, only to be thwarted by the fact that they lack immigration documents and can’t enlist.  Tell that to the Department of Defense, which included DREAM in its FY2010-12 Strategic Plan (see page 8).

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“There’s nothing ‘extraneous’ about the DREAM Act.  It’s not extraneous to America’s national security and military preparedness to increase the pool of highly qualified recruits for the U.S. armed forces.  It’s not extraneous to provide America’s economy with an infusion of young talent, the next generation of American workers.  It’s not extraneous to take a significant first step toward repairing the entirety of our broken immigration system.  It’s not extraneous for American taxpayers to see a return on the investment they have already made in these young peoples’ education in elementary or secondary school.  It’s not extraneous to ensure that students have a chance to pursue their own versions of the American dream and realize their full potential.  And it’s not extraneous to ensure young people who are Americans in all but paperwork have a chance to earn their citizenship and give back to the nation they call home.”

The DREAM Act is certainly not extraneous to David Cho, a senior studying International Economic and Korean at UCLA who wishes to join the Air Force upon graduation.  According to David, who would benefit from the DREAM Act, “I feel like I’m living inside an invisible prison cell; these invisible bars block me from doing things. I want to serve in the Air Force after graduation because I want to serve and change this country for the better. This is the American dream I want to achieve, but I am unable to fulfill it because of my status.”

As Senator Reid noted yesterday, the DREAM Act is a win-win for the nation.  As he said, the legislation “will ensure that millions of children who grow up as Americans will be able to get the education they need to contribute to our economy.  Students who come to America before age sixteen and who have been here for five years should be able get their green card after they go to college or serve in the military.  And many who have volunteered to defend our country can finally become citizens of it.”

Read more about the DREAM Act here.

 America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform