Center for American Progress Action

STATEMENT: CAP Action’s Angela Kelley on Senate DREAM Act Hearing
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP Action’s Angela Kelley on Senate DREAM Act Hearing

As the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security holds the first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act, the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Vice President for Immigration, Angela Maria Kelley, released this statement:

We applaud Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and the other members of the Senate subcommittee on this historic DREAM Act hearing. The DREAM Act provides a critical lifeline to undocumented youth who were brought here by no fault of their own, and who have completed high school and some college or military service, by granting them legal status. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’s courageous admission of undocumented status, and the everyday struggles he faced, reminds us just how much talent our nation has squandered by denying bright young minds the ability to legally study, live, and work in the United States. We can only imagine how much more Jose and other DREAMers would be able to accomplish and contribute if given the chance.

The DREAM Act is a sensible bill with strict requirements for a defined group of immigrant youth. It provides a tough but fair pathway to legal status for undocumented children who complete high school and some college or military service. The bill recognizes the basic moral principle that children brought to this country at a young age, and who know no other home, should not be destined to living their lives on the margins of society.

But this bill makes economic as well as moral sense. Passing this legislation will allow these young people to advance their studies or join the military, and to realize their full economic potential. That’s good for America and according to one study could add $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy in additional earnings over their lifetimes.

The stature of the witnesses testifying before the committee speaks to the critical importance of the DREAM Act. Secretaries Janet Napolitano and Arne Duncan, charged with running the nation’s Departments of Homeland Security and Education, respectively, know firsthand how important providing legal pathways to undocumented children is to our nation’s future and economic growth.

At a time when the United States faces two wars and numerous other conflicts abroad, the presence of Undersecretary of Defense Clifford Stanley, head of personnel and readiness for the armed services, speaks to the necessity of giving all able-bodied people who wish to serve our country the ability to do so.

We hope that Congress finds the will to pass the DREAM Act as soon as possible.

To speak with CAP Action’s experts about this issue, please contact Raul Arce-Contreras at [email protected] or 202.478.5318.