Statement by the President on the House Voting to Approve the DREAM Act

Office of the Press Secretary
December 8, 2010 

Statement by the President on the House Voting to Approve the DREAM Act 

I congratulate the House of Representatives, Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Berman, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other congressional leaders for taking the historic step of passing the DREAM Act today with a bipartisan vote. This vote is not only the right thing to do for a group of talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own by continuing their education or serving in the military, but it is the right thing for the United States of America. We are enriched by their talents and the success of their efforts will contribute to our nation’s success and security. And as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found, the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. I strongly urge the U.S. Senate to also pass the DREAM Act so that I can sign it into law as soon as possible.

This vote is a vitally important step to doing what the American people expect their policymakers to do: work together to address the nation’s most pressing problems.  The DREAM Act corrects one of the most egregious flaws of a badly broken immigration system. A flaw that forces children who have grown up in America, who speak English, who have excelled in our communities as academics, athletes, or volunteers to put their lives and talent on hold at a great cost to themselves and our nation.

I also congratulate the House for moving past the tired sound bites and false debates that have pushed immigration rhetoric into the extremes for far too long. The DREAM Act is not amnesty; it’s about accountability, and about tapping into a pool of talent we’ve already invested in. The DREAM Act is a piece of a larger debate that is needed to restore responsibility and accountability to our broken immigration system broadly.  My administration will continue to do everything we can to move forward on immigration reform; today’s House vote is an important step in this vital effort.


December 8, 2010
(House Rules)


House Amendment to Senate Amendments to H.R. 5281 — Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010
(Rep. Berman, D-California)

The Administration strongly supports House passage of the House amendment to the Senate amendments to H.R. 5281, which would address the immigration status of certain individuals who came to the United States as children, know this Nation as their home, and, by their actions, are contributing to the prosperity and security of the United States.  The DREAM Act would provide conditional nonimmigrant status for five years to individuals who:  (1) came to the United States before turning 16 years old; (2) have lived continuously in the United States for at least five years prior to the date of enactment; (3) were under the age of 30 on the date of enactment; (4) demonstrate good moral character; (5) are not inadmissible or deportable under a number of key grounds; and (6) have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or have been admitted to an institution of higher education in the United States.

Before these individuals could apply for a five-year extension to their conditional nonimmigrant status, they would have to meet additional requirements — in particular, completion of at least two years of either college or military service.  After ten years, these individuals would be eligible to apply for permanent resident status.  The young people who would be eligible for relief under the DREAM Act are prime examples of the need for comprehensive immigration reform that is based on requiring accountability and responsibility from all — the government, employers, and those who have entered the country illegally.  The present system is broken and the Administration continues to call on the Congress to pass comprehensive reform.  While the broader immigration debate continues, the Administration urges the House to take this important step and pass the DREAM Act.  Young people who have spent much of their lives in the United States and want to improve their lives and their Nation by pursuing higher education or defending the United States as members of the Armed Forces should be given this opportunity to earn legal status.

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