Today, Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. issued the following statement following House passage of H.R. 5281, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010:
"The DREAM Act extends the possibility of the American dream to students, college graduates and military personnel who have earned the right to be called Americans. It is a rigorous, difficult path to citizenship for those who are the best and the brightest, who any of us would be proud to call friends, neighbors and countrymen. Passing this bill was the right thing to do, at the right time. The DREAM Act is both good for our economy and the morally correct policy. I hope that the Senate will pass the bill as soon as possible so that President Obama can sign it into law.
"America is a nation of immigrants. Almost all of us have ancestors who came from some other place and who over time became Americans. Some of those ancestors immigrated through proper, legitimate avenues. Some scraped and clawed their way in any way they could. Some were brought here as slaves. But today all of us are Americans, striving for the American dream on the shoulders of our ancestors.
"This bill is not an amnesty bill. It is an earned citizenship bill - and that citizenship would take at least 13 years to be granted. As we face a global economy that is more and more competitive, we should have as strong a work force as possible. Why should a young person with an engineering degree from an American university see their education go to waste as a waitress or a dishwasher simply because their parents immigrated to this country illegally when he or she was a small child? Shouldn't that aspiring engineer be at the forefront of innovation at one of our great companies or research institutions? Shouldn't that engineer be able to contribute to our economy with his or her God-given talents and hard-earned skills? The obvious answer is 'Yes,' and that is why the DREAM Act is so important."