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The DREAM Act Strengthens America's Armed Forces

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 New Website: Immigrants Tell Congress, “Let Us Serve in the Armed Forces”

Gen. Colin Powell Supports DREAM Act, Understands Long Tradition of Immigrant Service and Sacrifice to U.S. Military

Washington, DC – Is the DREAM Act germane to the Department of Defense Authorization bill before the Senate this week?  Without a doubt.

The FY2010-12 Strategic Plan for the Department of Defense’s Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness recommends passage of the DREAM Act, in order to help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.” According to Louis Caldera, former Secretary of the Army, “The DREAM Act will materially expand the pool of individuals qualified, ready and willing to serve their country in uniform… I have no doubt many of these enlistees will be among the best soldiers in our Army.“  According to Margaret Stock, (Ret.) Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Police Corps, U.S.  Army Reserve, “Passage of the DREAM Act would directly benefit American national defense by enlarging the pool of highly qualified, US-educated ‘green card’ recruits for the US Armed Forces.”  Yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press, former Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell stated his strong support for the DREAM Act and said that immigration “is what’s keeping this country’s lifeblood moving forward.”

In fact, young immigrants from around the country are telling Congress this week that they are ready to serve in the military if given the opportunity via the passage of the DREAM Act.  Several of their stories are featured on a new website: www.LetUsServe2010.org.  American history is filled with stories such as that of Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, an immigrant from Guatemala who was killed in a tank battle In Iraq in March, 2003 – one of the first fatalities in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Notably, Lance Cpl. Gutierrez is just one of more than 100 immigrants who have been granted posthumous citizenship after dying in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Nothing is ‘extraneous’ about the sacrifices borne by these immigrant soldiers and patriots and nothing could be more relevant to military strength than recruiting the best and the brightest to bolster our fighting forces through the DREAM Act.”

In addition to the comments from leading military experts, this weekend also saw supportive editorials on behalf of DREAM in such outlets as the New York Times, New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Aurora Sentinel, and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Below, find a range of stories and factsheets on the role and relevance of immigrants to the U.S. armed forces:

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