Guam – Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement on the cusp of Congressional action on the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act. The DREAM Act would provide a process by which certain students and members of the military — who excelled through hard work and demonstrated their positive contributions to the nation — can obtain conditional nonimmigrant status and, after a period of time, lawful permanent residence:
“No investment yields as great a return as the one we make in people. That is precisely what the DREAM Act is all about.
“Allowing these young people, who have never known a nation other than America as home and who have excelled academically or served our country, the chance to earn lawful immigration status through a pursuit of higher education or service in our armed forces is the right thing to do. But it is also the smart thing to do.
“The DREAM Act would reduce our deficit by $1.4 billion over the next 10 years. It would achieve that through the increased tax revenues that individuals who attend college and earn legal status will generate as they become doctors, engineers, or otherwise realize their full potential.
“I have personally met and worked with many students who would be impacted by this legislation. In fact, early in my career, I worked as a student advisor and higher education recruitment counselor. Many of the young people I worked with were undocumented, including a college-bound young man whose academic achievements and dedication to hard work made him a model student in everyone’s eyes.
“This young man gave everything his all. Today he’s an environmental scientist. He has a rewarding, interesting and good-paying job. And he is making his own unique contribution to our country, our economy and the world. There are thousands of young people just like him. They understand what a privilege it is to live in a country like America. They want — and are ready — to give back to the only homeland they know, as high-achieving students and as men and women in uniform.
“The president and I believe giving these young people that chance is the right thing to do — for them, and for the nation as a whole. That is why we have aggressively engaged federal legislators in support of the DREAM Act. Tonight, as Congress takes up the bill, I once again urge members of that chamber — including those on the Republican side of the aisle who have recognized the wisdom of this legislation in the past — to support passage of the DREAM Act. It’s the right thing to do, and it just makes sense.”