Today, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted to give students who grew up in the United States a chance to contribute to our country by either serving in the military or pursuing a higher education.
"The DREAM Act is about allowing young people to serve our country," said Rep. Larsen. "Folks who grew up in the United States should have the opportunity to contribute to our country through either military service or attaining a college education."
The DREAM Act allows eligible immigrant students aged 29 or under, who have lived here for at least five years and were brought to the U.S. by their parents before the age of 15, to apply for conditional non-immigrant status and eventually become eligible for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status after 10 years, if they choose to serve in the military for two years or attain a college education.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that House version of the DREAM Act will increase revenues by $1.7 billion, and reduce the deficit by more than $2.2 billion, over the next 10 years.
"At a time when we have troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, we should not be turning away qualified individuals who want to serve our country," said Rep. Larsen. "The DREAM Act will help increase our military recruitment and readiness."
The Department of Defense (DOD) supports the passage of the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is included in the DOD's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010-12 to help the military "shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force." Currently, 35,000 non-citizens serve, and about 8,000 permanent resident aliens enlist in the military every year.