Statement from the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Support of the DREAM Act
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 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 10 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.