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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend for the time.
I stand here, Mr. Speaker, in support of the DREAM Act. The time has come for this legislative body to do what is right and to not punish students for the mistakes that their parents have made.
This legislation will give many bright, talented, and patriotic young men and women the opportunity to stay in this country, a country that they love, and to continue their college education or service in our proud military. These young people are motivated and only want the chance to give back to this country, their country.
The DREAM Act is not amnesty. It will allow eligible students to get on a pathway toward permanent legal status later on. Those who receive conditional legal status will not be eligible for Medicaid, food stamps, or any other government services.
This bill is a sensible and pragmatic compromise that reflects the generosity and the goodwill of this country and its citizens, a country that opened up its arms to me as a refugee child and to my parents as Cuban refugees.
The DREAM Act also makes economic sense. I have had the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to meet with many DREAM Act students, or Dreamers. One of the Dreamers with whom I met is Gaby Pacheco. This remarkable young woman's story emphasizes the urgency and the need for this legislation.
Gaby grew up in my district in south Florida and excelled academically. She graduated from high school third in her class and was student government president at my alma mater, Miami-Dade College, where she received a bachelor's in special ed. She received a scholarship to attend a master's program here in D.C., but she had to go back to Miami to revive her immigration status.
What struck me most about Gaby and the other Dreamers with whom I met is their optimism and their determination to give back to their country. They made it clear, Mr. Speaker, that all they want is an opportunity to prove themselves, no more and no less.
I hope my colleagues will do what is right and help Gaby and the other Dreamers get the chance to pursue their American dream in the American tradition.
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