Senate Holds Hearing on DREAM Act of 2011
The Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security held a hearing on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2011 on June 28, 2011. Sen. Dick Durbin (R-Ill.) opened the hearing. Witnesses included Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Arne Duncan, Secretary of the Department of Education; Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; Ola Kaso, a DREAM Act student; Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, and Steven Camarota, Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies.
Secretary Napolitano said the Obama administration "strongly supports the DREAM Act." She noted that in the closing days of the 111th Congress, the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and fell a few votes short in the Senate. She commended Sen. Durbin and the 34 co-sponsors who have signed onto the bill thus far. She said the DREAM Act would " allow the Department to devote a greater portion of limited DHS resources to removing individuals who actually pose a risk to public safety or security." She said the DREAM Act would do this "by providing a firm but fair way for individuals brought into our country as children – through no fault of their own – to obtain legal status by pursuing higher education, or by serving in the U.S. Armed Forces for the country where they have grown up and which they consider their home."
She noted that, as introduced in the Senate, the DREAM Act "establishes a rigorous process for those who entered the United States illegally as children to obtain conditional permanent resident status by proving that they meet several strict requirements." Those applying for conditional permanent resident status, she said, would also need to submit biometric and biographic data and undergo security and law enforcement background checks and a medical examination. Without the DREAM Act, Secretary Napolitano said, "young people will continue to be caught up in the immigration removal system, siphoning resources away from other, more pressing needs." She said that it does not make sense from a law enforcement or public safety perspective "to devote limited enforcement resources on young people who pose no threat to public safety, who were brought to this country illegally by no fault of their own and have grown up here, and who want to contribute to our country by serving in the military or going to college."
The hearing testimony and a webcast of the hearing are available at http://www.judiciary.senate.gov./hearings/hearing.cfm?id=3d9031b47812de2592c3baeba604d881.
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