Washington, D.C. (December 1, 2010) – The President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders supports the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (“DREAM Act”). The DREAM Act is good for our economy, our security, and our nation.
“Research has shown the potential of undocumented students to contribute to the economy and the U.S. workforce,” said Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce Secretary and Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “The DREAM Act would offer a rigorous and lengthy pathway towards earned legalization that would be a powerful incentive for young people to stay in school, graduate, stay out of trouble, and contribute to the economic stability of our country.”
According to a University of California report, Asian and Pacific Islander students make up approximately 40 percent of the total undocumented student population enrolled in the University of California system. Additionally, many undocumented Asian students are children of parents who have fled from war-torn countries.
“The DREAM Act would provide an opportunity for eligible undocumented students who have been raised and educated in the United States to earn legal status by pursuing a higher education, or by serving in the U.S. military,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who also serves as Co-Chair of the White House Initiative. “Enacting the DREAM Act would be an important part of our efforts to meet the Administration’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.”
It is estimated that approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year, many at the top of their classes, but they cannot go on to pursue their dreams of higher education or continued development. According to the Migration Policy Institute, one in ten potential DREAM Act beneficiaries comes from an Asian country.
“This critical bipartisan legislation will establish a process for hardworking young people who have lived most of their lives in this country and tend to be bicultural and fluent in English to obtain legal residency if they are able to meet certain conditions,” said Daphne Kwok, Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission.
Executive Order 13515, issued by President Obama in October, 2009, established the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Commission advises the President, through the Secretaries of Education and Commerce, on the implementation and coordination efforts of Federal programs as they relate to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the Federal government. In addition, the Commission works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through increased access to, and participation in, Federal programs in which they are underserved.
Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors
In a similar letter this week, U.S. Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), who is also chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, urged the passage of the DREAM Act – saying that failure to pass the DREAM Act would disproportionately impact Asian American and Pacific Islander students, especially in California, where more than 40 percent of DREAM Act beneficiaries would be Asian.
Approximately 1.5 million Asian individuals make up 12.5 percent of the 12 million undocumented population. Honda said this is disproportionatelylarge given that AAPIs make up only 5 percent of the US population.
“I applaud Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi for their leadership in supporting the DREAM Act. Passage of the DREAM Act is a top priority for CAPAC, as 1 in 10 DREAM Act beneficiaries would be Asian American and Pacific Islander,” said Honda.
“For many congresses, Members of our caucus have been vocal on the passage of both comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act,” continued Honda. “CAPAC will continue to push until the American dream becomes a reality for all our students.
“The DREAM Act would provide the opportunity to 65,000 undocumented high school graduates to make contributions to our country and economy. The legislation would make a small investment in our children; however, the gains for the country are far greater and far too inviting to ignore. I urge my colleagues in both Houses to do the right thing and pass the DREAM Act.”