Statement by the President on the House Voting to Approve the DREAM Act

President Obama

President Barack Obama. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I congratulate the House of Representatives, Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Berman, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other congressional leaders for taking the historic step of passing the DREAM Act today with a bipartisan vote. This vote is not only the right thing to do for a group of talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own by continuing their education or serving in the military, but it is the right thing for the United States of America. We are enriched by their talents and the success of their efforts will contribute to our nation’s success and security. And as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found, the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. I strongly urge the U.S. Senate to also pass the DREAM Act so that I can sign it into law as soon as possible.

This vote is a vitally important step to doing what the American people expect their policymakers to do: work together to address the nation’s most pressing problems.  The DREAM Act corrects one of the most egregious flaws of a badly broken immigration system. A flaw that forces children who have grown up in America, who speak English, who have excelled in our communities as academics, athletes, or volunteers to put their lives and talent on hold at a great cost to themselves and our nation.

I also congratulate the House for moving past the tired sound bites and false debates that have pushed immigration rhetoric into the extremes for far too long. The DREAM Act is not amnesty; it’s about accountability, and about tapping into a pool of talent we’ve already invested in. The DREAM Act is a piece of a larger debate that is needed to restore responsibility and accountability to our broken immigration system broadly.  My administration will continue to do everything we can to move forward on immigration reform; today’s House vote is an important step in this vital effort.

 

DREAM Act is good for United States

Editorials and experts around the country are agreeing that the DREAM Act is good for our nation, and have called on Congress to pass it:

Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, a Republican, said on a conference call on November 29th it would be a “shame” not to pass the bill in the lame duck.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said “[The Republican Party] needs to take a hard look at some of the positions they’ve been taking. We can’t be anti-immigration, for example. Immigrants are fueling this country. Without immigrants America would be like Europe or Japan with an aging population and no young people to come in and take care of it. We have to educate our immigrants. The DREAM Act is one way we can do this.”

Former Illinois Republican Governor Jim Edgar voiced his support for DREAM in an op-ed in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, writing: “A rational approach to comprehensive immigration reform should begin with the young people who were brought here as babies, toddlers and adolescents…A nation as kind as ours should not turn its back on them. Congress needs to support the sensible, humane approach embodied in legislation known as the Dream Act. The measure charts a rigorous path that undocumented youths must negotiate to gain legal status and qualify for citizenship, and supporting it would be both good government and good politics.”

The Wall Street Journal published an editorial that argues: “Restrictionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards people who entered the country illegally. But the bill targets individuals brought here by their parents as children. What is to be gained by holding otherwise law-abiding young people, who had no say in coming to this country, responsible for the illegal actions of others? The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded.”

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