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Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I strongly support efforts to overhaul our broken immigration system. This is no easy task and it remains a contentious issue for many people. We should not allow the failures of the past to prevent us from finding a path forward.
Comprehensive immigration reform legislation must reduce wait-times for people trying to follow our immigration laws. It should simplify and stabilize an effective guest worker program, give employers the resources they need to hire a legal workforce and better tools to uphold our laws. It must address border security. And it must bring into fold the 11 million people currently living in our country without documentation.
Passing the DREAM Act is an important step toward achieving comprehensive immigration reform and I am proud to support this legislation. It recognizes that many children are brought to the U.S. and who are not citizens are nonetheless working hard on their future. In many respects our futures are the same. The DREAM Act is an important step not just for the welfare and future of these young people, but for the welfare and future of America.
These are children and students who have grown up in the U.S., who are part of our country, who have succeeded in school and stayed out of trouble, who are committed to going to college or joining our armed forces. We should welcome them. This is what the American Dream is all about.
Issues of fairness aside, there are very practical reasons to support this legislation:
Our military supports the DREAM Act because it improves military readiness, which is why Colin Powell and Robert Gates both support the legislation and why it is reflected in the Defense Department's strategic plan;
By integrating these young people into our economy, the CBO reports that the DREAM Act will reduce our deficit by $1.4 billion over the next 10 years;
Increasing the number of people going to college or achieving careers in our armed forces will expand our economy, which will increase opportunities for everyone.
I look forward to voting in favor of this important legislation.
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