BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. PASTOR of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5281.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge passage of H.R. 5281, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, DREAM, Act.
The DREAM Act would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people, who were brought to the U.S. as children, raised in this country, have excelled in our education systems, and have expressed a clear commitment to pursue higher education or military service. Many of these young people currently live in Arizona's Fourth Congressional district, and under this bill, these bright and ambitious individuals will receive the opportunity to reap the full benefits of their educational advancements and military service by eventually obtaining legal citizenship.
Such an achievement is advantageous not only for these young people and their families, but for our communities and our Nation as a whole. It is largely known that over a lifetime, a million-dollar difference exists between the earning capacity of a high school graduate and a college graduate. Research also shows that college graduates are more likely to volunteer and participate in their communities, and are less likely to be incarcerated or be recipients of public assistance. The earning power of college graduates also translates into important tax revenues for our Federal, State, and local treasuries, a point particularly poignant during this time of large deficits.
The DREAM Act has received support from the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, Education, and Labor. Secretary Gates has offered his endorsement of the proposal which would provide children of non-resident immigrants a clear path to U.S. citizenship through military service. We know the sacrifice asked of our service members and their families, and if these individuals are willing to make such a commitment, we should honor their decision by extending full citizenship rights. In considering the Department of Defense's challenges with recruitment and readiness, passage of the DREAM Act would ensure access to a new pool of eligible youth, ready to serve the U.S. military and wear its respective uniforms.
Passage of the DREAM Act will reward the good decisions of many young people in my district, individuals who are placing their education at the forefront of their responsibilities, and who possess strong values beneficial to our Arizona communities and neighborhoods. As a body of Members who have collectively attained a high degree of education, we know the benefits we have received from our hard work and dedication. We must support legislation which rewards the same characteristics of diligence and commitment, allowing these young people to fully benefit, as U.S. citizens, from their accomplishments.
I know students in my district who have been patiently waiting for passage of the DREAM Act. I truly am honored to represent this group of intelligent and driven young people, as I know their character and their desire to not only better their futures and that of their families, but also this Nation; a country in which they acknowledge has befitted them with great opportunities. I am confident these young people, through their intellectual contributions and military service, will continue to give back to a Nation they love so dearly and call their own.
I ask my Colleagues to join me in supporting the important passage of H.R. 5281, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, DREAM, Act.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT