Dec 18 2010
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein issued the following statement today on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), which failed to get the votes in needed to pass the Senate today.
“I am deeply disappointed. I looked up in the galleries which were filled with bright young faces of young people whose only desire was to be good Americans – to better themselves, to become educated, to earn a living, to be willing to fight for this country, and be proud of the fact that they are American. They have no hope of becoming American without the DREAM Act.
“The DREAM Act is important to the United States. I have no doubt that this legislation will be debated on the Senate floor again. To the young people who watched this vote today and feel deep despair- keep fighting.
“For those that did not support this legislation, I ask that you think about the years that these bright young people will spend in limbo. These young people could be putting their education to good use but instead will be unable to realize their potential and give back to the country they consider home. I look forward to when I can cast my vote in favor of the DREAM Act again.”
Following are Senator Feinstein’s floor remarks:
I'd like to speak about the DREAM Act. I would like to thank those who have supported this and brought it forward: Senator Hatch, Senator Durbin, as well as Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins on repealing Don't ask, Don't Tell.
I supported the DREAM Act since it was first introduced. And each year the support has grown.
Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from America’s high schools. Most of them did not make a choice to come to the United States. Many were brought here by their parents. Some at only six months old, or even twelve years old.
Many of these young people grew up in the United States and have little or no memory or resources of the country from which they came. They are hard-working young people dedicated to their education or serving in the nation’s military. They have stayed out of trouble. Some are valedictorians. I happen to know one. And some are honor roll students. Some are community leaders, and have an unwavering commitment to serving the United States of America.
Because of their undocumented status, these young people are ineligible to serve in the military. They face tremendous obstacles to attending college. For many, English is actually their first language and they are just like every other American student.
Now reaching adulthood, these young people are left with a dead end. They can’t use their educations to contribute to their communities. They can’t serve the country they call home by volunteering for military service. They are relegated to their -- to the shadows by their status.
Along comes the DREAM Act, which provides an opportunity for these students to fulfill the American Dream. It would permit students to become permanent residents if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or enlist in the military for two years.
So already they have to prove themselves. The legislation requires students to wait ten years before becoming lawful permanent residents and undergo background and security checks and pay any back taxes. This is a multi-step process, not a free pass.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the DREAM Act would increase federal revenues by $2.3 billion over 10 years and increase net direct spending by $912 million between 2011 and 2020. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that enacting the bill would reduce deficits by about $ 2.2 billion over ten years.
I think DREAM is a winner.