Mr. SIRES. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend the passage of the DREAM Act by the House of Representatives on December 8, 2010. I am a longtime supporter of the bill, and I am thankful that we finally have the opportunity to move forward with this significant and life- changing legislation. With the passage of the DREAM Act, an estimated 800,000 young people that have been kept in the shadows and overlooked by this country would be given what they never had before: a chance.
Currently, there are young people in this country who know no other home, yet they do not have access to the opportunities that make this country strong. They are unable to resolve their immigration status and therefore can offer little to the country that they love. The DREAM Act would make it possible for those brought to this country as young children who have grown up in the United States to contribute to the United States and achieve their full potential.
This bill is carefully constructed to target only those people most deserving of this opportunity. To earn conditional immigration status, these young people must demonstrate that they have graduated high school, obtained a GED, or been accepted to an institution of higher learning. They must also have arrived in the United States before they were 16, have lived in the United States for at least five years before the bill's enactment, and be under 29 years of age. After a minimum of thirteen years and if additional requirements are met, those eligible can apply for U.S. citizenship.
The contributions of these young people would benefit our country and our economy, and I would like to thank my colleagues who supported this extraordinary legislation. This bill would allow young people throughout the country to pursue the kind of futures that they deserve. It would also allow our country to take advantage of the talents that these bright young people have to offer.
The enactment of the DREAM Act would give young people the chance to better themselves and in turn would make this country a better place.