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Letter to Senator Durbin on the DREAM Act

May 11, 2011

Dear Senator Durbin:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our strong support for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.  NEA members across the nation greatly appreciate your longstanding commitment to this issue and your leadership in introducing this important legislation.  We look forward to working with you to secure its long overdue passage. 

Each year, thousands of undocumented students who have lived in the United States for at least five years 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.  The loss to these students, and to society as a whole, is significant.

The DREAM Act is a practical solution that upholds the best of our shared American values of fair opportunity, accountability, and strong work ethics.  Your bill will promote fairness and justice by providing a path to legal status for individuals brought to the U.S. as undocumented children years ago.  And, it will also have significant fiscal benefits for states and local communities.  For example, a 30-year-old immigrant who graduates from college will 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 have already invested in the education of these children in elementary and secondary school and through the DREAM Act could benefit from that investment.  In addition, the bill will help promote the skilled workforce necessary for our nation to compete globally.  Leading businesses such as Microsoft have endorsed the DREAM Act because they recognize that our broken immigration system is draining our economy of the talent and resources needed to compete in the global economy.

As you know, the DREAM Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives and received a bipartisan majority vote in the U.S. Senate in December. Unfortunately, the support of 55 Senators was not enough to overcome a filibuster by the bill’s opponents. We greatly appreciated your strong support for the DREAM Act last year and look forward to working with you to enact it into law in the 112th Congress.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson         
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy