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Quote Sheet: Passing the DREAM Act Would Benefit the U.S. Military

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September 15, 2010 | Download PDF

Immigrant families have a long and proud tradition of serving in the U.S. military and giving back to their adopted country.  Currently, almost eight percent of the U.S. armed forces are foreign-born.  Many military leaders support the DREAM Act as a way of helping the nation’s armed forces remain strong and vibrant.

According to the Department of Defense’s FY2010-12 Strategic Plan, the DREAM Act is recommended by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.”  [See page 8 in the plan.]  

David S. C. Chu, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness under George W. Bush, called for action on the DREAM Act to strengthen the military.  “If their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, most of these young people have no mechanism to obtain legal residency even if they have lived most of their lives here.  Yet many of these young people may wish to join the military, and have the attributes needed – education, aptitude, fitness, and moral qualifications.” [CQ Congressional Testimony; ”Immigration and the Military”; July 10, 2006]

Margaret Stock, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve (retired); a former professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; and an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, said: “Potential DREAM Act beneficiaries are also likely to be a military recruiter’s dream candidates for enlistment …  In a time when qualified recruits—particularly ones with foreign language skills and foreign cultural awareness – are in short supply, enforcing deportation laws against these young people makes no sense. Americans who care about our national security should encourage Congress to pass the DREAM Act.” [Margaret D. Stock, “The DREAM Act: Tapping an Overlooked Pool of Home Grown Talent.” The Federalist Society, Washington, DC. Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Societies Practice Group, Volume 6, Issue 2, October 2005]

Bill Carr, former Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, called DREAM “very appealing” to the military “because it would apply to the ‘cream of the crop’ of students. Mr. Carr concluded that the DREAM Act would be “good for [military] readiness.” [Donna Miles, “Officials Hope to Rekindle Interest in Immigration Bill Provision.” American Forces Press Service. June 11, 2007]

Conservative military scholar Max Boot supports the DREAM Act:  “It’s a substantial pool of people and I think it’s crazy we are not tapping into it.”  The DREAM Act “would not only offer a welcome path toward citizenship for many promising young people but also might ease some of the recruitment problems that Army has been facing of late.” [Max Boot, “Dream a Little Dream,” Commentary Magazine, September 20, 2007]

The Center for Naval Analyses issued a report finding that immigrants in the military have high levels of performance and lower rates of attrition.  The report noted that non-citizens add valuable diversity to the armed forces and perform extremely well, often having significantly lower attrition rates than other recruits.  The report also pointed out that “much of the growth in the recruitment‐eligible population will come from immigration.” [CNA, “Non-Citizens in Today’s Military.  Final Report.” April 2005. http://www.cna.org/documents/D0011092.A2.pdf]

Senator Dick Durbin Makes a Compelling Case for DREAM: “This is the choice the DREAM Act presents to us. We can allow a generation of immigrant students with great potential and ambitions to contribute more fully to our society and national security, or we can relegate them to a future in the shadows, which would be a loss for all Americans.” [Senator Dick Durbin, Floor Statement, “DREAM Act as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill,” Friday, July 13, 2007]