U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he and President Obama and Duncan fully support passage of the DREAM Act during a telephone press briefing held Tuesday. The event was moderated by the National Immigration Law Center.
Many immigrant students have pinned their hopes to the DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. It would provide a path to citizenship for college students who came to this country as children, have been in the U.S. at least five years and have not been in trouble.
The bill would eliminate the fear of deportation and legal roadblocks they face while seeking college degrees and jobs, immigrant students say. Students have also said it would provide uniformity nationwide for undocumented students applying for colleges across state lines.
Proponents of the DREAM Act hope it will be passed as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill in upcoming days.
Duncan said the DREAM Act is the right thing to do for our country because it allows children of undocumented immigrants to gain legal status by attending college or serving the country through the military.
Duncan said it is time to stop punishing young people who came to the United States without choice as undocumented children.
“America is the only country they know,” Duncan said.
Allowing undocumented students to pursue their skills, talents and passions will help the U.S. economy in the long run, he added.
“We have to educate our way to a better economy,” Duncan said.