Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) tonight voted in favor of H.R. 5281, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010, targeted legislation that would provide eligible undocumented students the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they, among other requirements, complete two years at a four year institution of higher learning or serve two years in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 216 yeas to 198 nays. The legislation now goes before the U.S. Senate for consideration.
"I have listened to numerous stories in Hawaii about young adults who came to the islands as children and are now facing the nightmare of deportation," said Congresswoman Hirono. "The DREAM Act gives those undocumented young adults who work hard and meet the strict requirements the chance to become legal residents."
Under the DREAM Act, an applicant who meets the legislation's requirements would become a "conditional nonimmigrant." The bill would allow an individual to obtain this conditional status if they arrived in the U.S. as a minor, lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, graduated from high school or earned an equivalent certificate, and completed two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning.
"Our nation was founded on the powerful ideals of freedom and tolerance. These values still elude other nations to this day, which is why the American Dream endures in the minds of so many around the world. As an immigrant to this country myself, I know the power of that dream. That I could become a member of the People's House shows that the dream can come true," said Congresswoman Hirono.