U.S. Secretary of Education Says DREAM Act Critical for Realizing the Country's Goals

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In a testimony to Congress this morning, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke in favor of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act.  The DREAM Act would create opportunities for qualified young and undocumented people to attend college.  Duncan spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the DREAM Act, which he said was critical for realizing the country’s national goals and future workforce needs.  He added that the DREAM Act sends the right message about “the value of hard work and our Nation’s basic sense of fairness.”

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The U.S. Secretary of Education also rejected misconceptions about the act, such as claims that it creates an amnesty program with an easy path to citizenship.  The process through which those seeking legal status through the act would be rigorous; they must prove they came to the United States before the age of 16, have lived in this country for at least five years, and graduated from high school or received a GED diploma.  Those seeking legal status through the DREAM Act must also possess “good moral character” (i.e. have no record of arrest) and be admitted to an institution of higher education or the military.  “These are demanding standards that demonstrate academic achievement and personal integrity,” Duncan said.

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Duncan said that those served by the DREAM Act will help the United States workforce grow and fill shortages in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) jobs.  “Simply put, educating the individuals who would be eligible under the DREAM Act would benefit our country,” he said.

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