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NEA President urges Congress to pass the DREAM Act

Education remains the key to economic security and prosperity for all students

WASHINGTON - December 08, 2010 -

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel today urged Congress to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would provide a path to legal status for young people whose parents brought them to the United States as undocumented children years ago.

Each year, thousands of these students graduate from U.S. high schools. Among these students, with whom NEA members work every day, are class valedictorians, straight-A students, and idealistic youth committed to bettering their communities. Yet, because of enormous barriers created by their lack of legal status, many such students are unable to pursue higher education or serve in the military. The loss to these students, and to society as a whole, is significant.

The bill would have significant fiscal benefits for states and local communities. For example, a 30-year-old immigrant who graduates from college would pay $5,300 more in taxes and cost $3,900 less in government expenses each year than if she had dropped out of high school. State and local taxpayers, who have already invested in the education of these children in elementary and secondary school, could benefit from that investment through the DREAM Act.  In addition, the bill would help promote the skilled workforce necessary for our nation to compete globally.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“The DREAM Act is a resounding affirmation that education remains the key to economic security and prosperity for all students.

“But under the current, outdated immigration system, undocumented children of immigrants who grew up in this country and who call America home are being deprived of such opportunities.

“We believe this legislation is a fair, practical solution that upholds the best of our shared values of fairness, accountability and a strong work ethic.

“We urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act to allow these students to achieve their dreams and to continue contributing to their communities and society.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing
3.2  million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,