The DREAM Act is moving forward fast, with a vote expected in the House of Representatives next week.
Yesterday, according to MSNBC, on a conference call hosted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Janet Napolitano stated:
“The DREAM Act will strengthen the U.S. economy and its military…”
Secretary Napolitano went on to say that the DREAM Act would actually make enforcement operations more streamlined by taking away a whole group of individuals who pose no threat to our country — and have gone through the rigorous background checks to prove it:
Saying the nation’s immigration system “does not work the way it ought to,” Napolitano said passing the DREAM Act would not be a substitute for much-needed comprehensive immigration reform, but it would allow young people who were not responsible for immigrating illegally to this country and who want to go to college or join the military to adjust their immigration status and provide a path to citizenship without fear of deportation. This would be possible only after a vigorous background check.
“The laws themselves need to be updated,” she said. “They need to be updated and reformed. One of the reforms that can take place is the Dream Act which takes out of the universe of those, as it were, who would be subject to enforcement action, it takes out of that group those who are the least culpable.”
Secretary Napolitano is hardly alone in her support. Secretary of Education, Arte Duncan, recently sent a letter of DREAM Act support to Majority Leader Reid. So did Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, to key sponsor of the DREAM Act, Senator Richard Durbin, stating:
Setting aside the question of the process by which Congress should consider this legislation, there is a rich precedent supporting the service of non-citizens in the US military. Since the Revolutionary War, non-citizens have enlisted in the armed forces for service during periods of national emergency. Today, about 35, 000 non-citizens serve, and about 8,000 permanent resident aliens enlist every year. The DREAM Act represents an opportunity to expand this pool, to the advantage of military recruiting and readiness.
Just yesterday, that urgency was reiterated by Clifford Stanley, a Defense Department official:
“The department supports those elements of the DREAM Act that provide children of nonresident immigrants a clear path to U.S. citizenship through service in the military,” said Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness…”Throughout past and current conflicts, those who are not yet citizens have answered the call to defend their adopted nation,” Stanley said. “Allowing DREAM Act-eligible youth the opportunity to serve this nation would continue this tradition of service, while expanding the market of high-quality patriotic youth, to the advantage of military recruitment and readiness.