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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. Speaker, thank you for bringing my bill to the floor today. The ``Removal Clarification Act of 2010'' will enable federal officials to remove cases filed against them to federal court in accordance with the spirit and intent of the federal officer removal statute.

* Under the federal officer removal statute, federal officers should be able to remove a case out of State court and into federal court when it involves the federal officer's exercise of his or her official responsibilities.

* However, some courts have found that federal officers cannot remove to federal court when pre-suit discovery motions are made.

* This bill will clarify that a federal officer may remove any legally enforceable demand for his or her testimony or documents, if the basis for contesting the demand is related to the officer's exercise of his or her official responsibilities.

* When I brought this bill to the House floor in July, I explained that the bill will not result in the removal of the entire case when a federal officer is served with a discovery request.

* The language added by the Senate strengthens the premise on which we had been operating: that this new law will not create a vehicle to unnecessarily drag entire cases into federal court when the only hook is that a federal officer has been served with a discovery request.

* I would be remiss if I did not also express my support for the DREAM Act.

* Mr. Speaker, this bipartisan legislation addresses the tragedy our young undocumented people face when, through no fault of their own, their lack of status may prevent them from attending college, joining the military, or working legally in the only home they have known--the United States of America. This bill will give hard-working, English-speaking, young men and women a chance to fulfill their aspirations by contributing to America's economic prosperity and security.

* The DREAM Act ensures that no child in America is denied his or her dream of having a better life if he or she is willing to work hard for one. Each year, about 65,000 undocumented students, raised in the United States, graduate from high school. These graduates are young people who have lived in the United States for most of their lives. They are honor roll students, athletes, aspiring teachers, doctors, business owners, and soldiers. Unfortunately, these graduates face a roadblock to their dreams--they cannot enroll in college, legally work to spur economic growth and pay taxes to contribute to our society, or join the military to defend our country. In some instances, these youth grow up here without even knowing they do not have legal status until they find out that they cannot attend college, work, or enlist in the military.

* I am pleased that Congress is moving forward with this bill which is the solution to these problems. The DREAM Act is a narrowly tailored legislative remedy for a specific population--undocumented students who were brought to the United States as minors, and have attended and completed elementary and secondary education in the United States. It is a great first step towards the overall goal of comprehensive immigration reform.

* It is important to understand that the DREAM Act offers no incentive for undocumented individuals to enter into the United States. It does not provide any benefit for undocumented individuals who are not already here at the time of its passage. It does not require states to provide any benefits to undocumented students, nor does it make these students eligible for federal financial aid. The bill gives states the option to offer in-state tuition to students registered under the Act, but it does not guarantee cheaper tuition. The DREAM Act allows undocumented students to access in-state tuition, but only if they would otherwise qualify for such tuition, and if state law permits undocumented students to receive in-state tuition. This bill would not require states to change their laws to permit undocumented students the right to receive in-state tuition.

* Specifically, the DREAM Act would allow undocumented students a pathway to citizenship if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16, and are below the age of 35; have lived here continuously for five years; graduated from high school or obtained a GED; have good moral character with no criminal record; and complete at least two years of college or military service.

* The benefits to our country's economy and budget will be enormous with the passage of the DREAM Act. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this legislation will reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over the next decade. The increase in authorized workers would affect individual and corporate income taxes. These changes would increase revenues by $2.3 billion over ten years according to the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation. Additionally, a 2010 study by the UCLA North American Integration and Development Center found that DREAM Act beneficiaries would earn between $1.4 trillion and $3.6 trillion over the course of their lives.

* According to the Immigration Policy Center, there are an estimated 2.1 million undocumented individuals in the United States who might be eligible for legal status under the DREAM Act. In my home state of Georgia, there are 74,000 undocumented young people who could potentially benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act.

* This legislation is of the utmost importance to me because Georgia is one of the top ten states with the largest number of DREAM Act beneficiaries. The time to act on this bill is now; the students in Georgia cannot afford to wait any longer. South Carolina has banned undocumented youth from attending public colleges and, unfortunately, it looks like Georgia might follow suit. Earlier this year, in October, Georgia's state board of regents voted to ban illegal immigrants from the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Medical College of Georgia, and Georgia College & State University.

* Undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should not be penalized for a decision that was not theirs. In the long-run, the acceptance and inclusion of young immigrants who arrived as children is a decent and just goal.

* As a Member of the Armed Services Committee, I know the importance of having an adequate military to protect our freedoms at home and abroad. Our military would benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act. Millions of talented youth will be ready to serve our country, and would assist the military in its recruiting efforts. In fact, the DREAM Act was included as part of the Department of Defense's 2010-2012 strategic plan by the Office of Personnel and Readiness.

* By providing undocumented youth with the opportunity to enhance their education and career readiness, our country will reap enormous economic and cultural benefits.

* Yesterday, I spent a good part of my day helping a potential Dreamer beneficiary in my district: Allison Hernandez Sanchez. His parents brought him from Mexico in 1994 when he was five years old. This young man attended Miller Grove High School and graduated in 2009. He was an athlete and played the saxophone in the band.

* Like many other undocumented talented young men and women, he had plans to continue his education. However, on October 11, 2010, due to a minor traffic incident, he was detained for not having proper documentation. He was immediately placed in deportation proceedings.

* This young man had no criminal background. Not only was he a student, but a son, friend and brother. Because of the state of current laws, Allison is unable to follow his dreams and attend college. Allison, like many other undocumented youth, calls the United States home, because it is the only home he knows.

* Unfortunately, Allison is not alone. Young men and women across the United States belong in colleges, the workforce, and the military--not in detention centers. They are ready to serve their country, to become productive citizens, to offer their talents and skills to make the United States a better country for all of us. They should not be treated as criminals. No child should go through this experience when they did not make the decision to come to this country. They should not be held accountable for a choice that was never theirs to make. They deserve an opportunity to stay and invest in the United States of America.

* I am proud to have joined more than 130 Members of Congress in cosponsoring this legislation that will help Allison and millions of other undocumented youth across the country. The DREAM Act was initially introduced in 2001, and it is definitely time to do what is right by bringing this bill to the floor for final passage. The time to pass this bill is now. Our military cannot afford to reject another qualified recruit. America's economy cannot afford to turn away a new entrepreneur to bring economic prosperity, a good teacher to educate our children, or a medical researcher that could create a cure for cancer or HIV.

* I am glad that Congress is acting now so that today's dream can become tomorrow's reality. I thank Representatives BERMAN, DIAZ-BALART, and ROYBAL-ALLARD in their leadership in moving this bill forward. Speaker PELOSI, I thank you for working tirelessly to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.

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