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Military Leaders, Future Enlistees Agree that DREAM Act Would Strengthen U.S. Armed Forces

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There are thousands of patriotic youth who graduate from high school each year with dreams of serving the only country they know, but are ineligible to enlist in the U.S. armed forces because they lack legal immigration status.  The DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill that would enable these talented young people to enlist in the U.S. military or attend college on their way to becoming full U.S. citizens.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he plans to schedule a vote on the DREAM Act during the “lame duck” session of Congress, and press reports indicate that the House will also take up the legislation. On a conference call with reporters, this Tuesday, November 23rd, U.S. military veterans argued passionately that the DREAM Act would strengthen the U.S. military and that Congress should pass it immediately.

Albert Gonzales, National Commander of the American GI Forum, spoke on behalf of his organization, representing thousands of Hispanic Veterans: “Any undocumented resident willing to fight for our collective freedoms should have the opportunity to enlist in the military, with a process for obtaining citizenship. The American GI Forum supports the Dream Act as this process.”

“It’s wrong to deny an able, qualified, and committed person who grew up in America the chance to serve America.  And, it’s wrong to rob our military of potentially exemplary troops and future leaders,” stated Brett Hunt, a member of VoteVets.org and an Iraq war veteran.  He added, “The DREAM Act would, rightfully, give young high school graduates who wish to serve, the ability to do so and a path to citizenship in return for their service.  This bipartisan legislation would strengthen the ranks of our armed forces and must be passed.  This is not the conservative thing to do, it is not the liberal thing to do — It simply is the right thing to do. VoteVets.org fully supports this legislation, on behalf of our veterans and military families, and calls on the Senate to pass it.”

The conference call also featured students who dream of enlisting in our nation’s armed services, but remain ineligible to serve the only country they call home until the DREAM Act becomes law.  David Cho, an honors student from UCLA who would benefit from the DREAM Act, hopes to join the U.S. Air Force.  He stated on the call, “Along with thousands of other undocumented students, I have been used as a political football by our apathetic politicians since the introduction of the DREAM Act in 2001. It is now almost 2011. There are thousands of students like me who want to serve this nation but we can’t because of our immigration status. Too many students are suffering under our broken immigration system — let us finally pass the DREAM Act.”

Another DREAM act eligible student from San Antonio, Texas, Alina Cortes, spoke on the call, declaring, “My goal as an American patriot is to serve the country that has served me all these years and become an officer in the United States Marine Corps, but unfortunately I cannot apply without the proper documentation.; As a Republican, I urge my leaders to stand up and support the DREAM Act to allow young patriots like myself to give back to this great nation.”

For more information on the DREAM Act, see:

Background Briefing: The DREAM Act

Military and National Security Leaders Support the DREAM Act

Letter from Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, in Support of DREAM Act

Let Us Serve 2010: Stories of DREAM Act Eligible Youth Ready for the Armed Forces