During his State of the Union address on January 25, President Obama laid down a marker that the DREAM Act is essential to the American agenda, crucial to us creating jobs and building a stronger America in the 21st century, as well as a giant step towards greater basic fairness in our American system.
He also could have pointed out that, if passed, the DREAM Act would lower the deficit and create jobs. For anyone who thinks immigration is just something that Democrats bring up in an election year, last night was your answer. We look forward to working with Long Islanders of all parties to continue building the case for the DREAM Act, and for all the Long Islanders—native and immigrant alike—who would benefit from it.
The president’s words:
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.
After the DREAM Act failed to pass this December, President Obama expressed his disappointment, but countered that disappointment with his commitment to support immigration reform. He speaks in more detail about the legislation in this video. Skip ahead to 22 minutes and 53 seconds:
You can watch the full State of the Union address here:
Image courtesy of the White House.