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College Board Continues Its Support of the DREAM Act at the First Senate Hearing
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
On June 28, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired the first-ever Senate hearing on the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. The bill came close to passing in the 111 Congress, but ultimately failed to get Senate approval. Durbin plans to reintroduce the bill, S.952, Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2011, in the 112th session. The bill will open the door to college and career opportunities for tens of thousands of deserving students who will play a critical role in meeting our nation’s demand for an educated workforce.
The Senate hearing featured White House officials making their case for the law, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan who said in his testimony that “this is an investment not an expense." The College Board submitted a statement of support to Senator Durbin to be included in the record for the Senate hearing and signed on with the higher education community in support of testimony submitted by the American Council on Education.
As part of the College Board’s ongoing work to promote diversity and equity in education and expand access to higher education, we released a 2009 report supporting the DREAM Act, referencing the more than 65,000 undocumented students in the U.S. who graduate from high school every year. The report, Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students, makes an economic as well as a moral argument in support of the legislation. Its key findings are as follows:
- Without policy change, it is extremely difficult for undocumented students to access higher education.
- After high school graduation, opportunities for these students’ continued development are severely limited.
- Lack of mobility negatively impacts students, their families, communities, the economy and society as a whole.
- The DREAM Act would support the ambitions, aspirations and contributions of thousands of undocumented students.
- In strictly economic terms, the contributions that DREAM Act students would make over their lifetimes would dwarf the small additional investment in their education beyond high school, and the intangible benefits of legalizing and educating these students would be significant.
Our commitment to these students and their college and career development stems from knowing the potential they have to contribute to advancing our competitiveness in the global economy. From our work with these students, we know that among them are aspiring scientists, doctors, teachers and others who will contribute to our nation’s social and economic well-being.
In addition, a December 2010 report issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that providing this opportunity for legalization for thousands of young, undocumented immigrants would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years and increase revenues by $2.3 billion.
Read the testimony from the College Board.