WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the DREAM Act – bipartisan legislation that gives students who already reside in the United States and have grown up in the United States a chance to contribute to our country’s well-being by pursuing a higher education or serving in the Armed Forces.
Following are statements in support of the legislation's passage:
Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF)
. - The U.S. House of Representatives voted on the latest version of the DREAM Act (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act). The final vote was 216-198 in favor of passing the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would provide a qualified path to citizenship for thousands of immigrant youth and young adults seeking to obtain a college degree or to serve in the U.S. Military, and who otherwise meet the conditions of the law. For the last decade, MALDEF and other organizations nationwide have pushed to transform the bi-partisan supported DREAM Act into a reality.
Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF, issued the following statement in response to today's vote on the DREAM Act:
"Today the House of Representatives took a courageous and patriotic step by passing the DREAM Act. We urge the Senate to put aside the politics of exclusion and to join in enacting this important legislation. The DREAM Act would help to alleviate the nation's dire need for highly-educated workers and for highly-motivated service members by ending the current practice of discarding through disallowance the contributions of some of our nation's most successful young students."
"The Act also vindicates longstanding national, constitutional values to embrace newcomers and to reject cross-generational punishment. Through the vote this afternoon, the House has cast aside the 'lame-duck' moniker in favor of bold and progressive assistance to our still-hobbled national economy."
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC):
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country, cheered the historic vote in the House of Representatives.
This evening, the House passed the legislation by a vote of 216 to 198.
“Passing the DREAM Act honors and rewards those who have shared their gifts and put their lives at risk for our country,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “By harnessing the talent and commitment of so many young Americans, it means a more prosperous nation for all of us. We are thankful to the leaders in Congress who voted for the bill, especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who fought with us to pass this bill.”
In addition to rewarding the academic achievement and military service of thousands by offering a path to citizenship, the DREAM Act will inspire a generation of children to contribute to the strength and success of the United States. The legislation will also reduce the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reported last week that the DREAM Act will create at least $2.3 billion in revenue over the next ten years, drastically cutting the deficit by $1.4 billion.
Today’s version of the DREAM Act is a far cry from what was first offered in 2001 by Senators Richard Durbin and Richard Lugar. The bill is the result of difficult concessions that were made over the last week to build support in the Senate and the House. The bipartisan coalition that emerged from these negotiations demonstrated the leadership and cooperation that the American people crave, and the bill that they passed will leave a legacy of goodwill and prosperity for decades to come.
LULAC urges the Senate leadership to follow in the House footsteps. The DREAM Act is common-sense legislation drafted by both Republicans and Democrats that would give students who grew up in the United States a chance to contribute to our country’s well-being by serving in the U.S. armed forces or pursuing a higher education. Because it is the right thing to do, the DREAM Act has long enjoyed bipartisan support.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 880 LULAC councils nationwide.