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The DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) is a proposed legislation that allows young and high-achieving illegal immigrants to serve in the US military and continue with higher education. In particular, enacting the bill will allow eligible young immigrants to attain legal citizenship status. In order to change from undocumented to legal US citizenship status, eligible immigrant minors must pass background checks and demonstrate satisfactory moral behavior, graduate from high school, and complete other additional prerequisites such as either finishing military service or attending college (Durbin 78). Passing the DREAM Act is essential to the United States Armed Forces because it will increase the number of highly qualified recruits for the military, who are mostly high school graduates. Approximations point out that about 800,000 young people will benefit significantly from the enactment of the bill (Perez 102). Despite these potential benefits, opponents of the bill argue that the DREAM Act will reduce the significance of the US immigration policies, which will increase an inflow of illegal immigrants. This paper argues in favor of the DREAM Act because the bill will increase the number of highly qualified recruits for the US military; reduce high school attrition rates and increase college attendance; and impose significant benefits to the US economy.
The first argument in favor of the DREAM Act is that it promises to increase the number of qualified recruits for the US military. The 2010-2012 Strategy Plan for the Defense Department recommended the DREAM Act for helping the US Armed Forces to maintain an All Volunteer Force, which is mission-ready (Stock 47). Many young illegal aliens aspire to enroll in the military. Further, they have the required attributes in terms of education, physical fitness, ability, and satisfactory moral characters. In fact, most of them are High School Diploma Graduates and have fluent language skills in both English and their native languages. Stock (50) asserts that passing the DREAM Act would offer these young immigrants an opportunity to serve the US. According to Gonzales (15), “military service is a typical tradition rooted among immigrant families”. However, their undocumented status is a significant barrier towards their enrollment in the military. Therefore, passing the DREAM Act will permit military recruiters to enroll the highly qualified young immigrants, which will in turn create a win-win situation for the US and the Department of Defense. Stock (53) argues that extraditing these young immigrants dispossesses the US of a valuable human asset to reinforce the anti-terrorism war.
The second argument in favor of the DREAM Act is that its fiscal impacts are extremely large, and will place the US in a better position to compete in the global economy. The DREAM Act itself is somewhat a return on investment already undertaken by the country. Gonzales (22) argues that student beneficiaries of the bill resided and received their education in the United States, implying that taxpayers invested in their education. As a result, the US merits a return on investment on these young individuals. The present day global economy needs an educated and skilled labor force that is able to acquire, create and distribute knowledge (Perez 147). Enactment of the DREAM Act will increase US competitiveness in the global economy by providing multicultural, multilingual and skilled workers. Stock (55) points out that leading corporations like Microsoft support the DREAM Act because they acknowledge that the broken immigration system drains the US economy in terms of talent and resources required to increase its competitiveness in the global economy.
The third argument in favor of passing the DREAM Act is that it will reduce high school attrition rates and increase college attendance. According to Durbin (102), immigrant students comprise of a considerable and growing fraction of US student population. Nevertheless, their undocumented status contributes significantly towards higher-than-average high school dropout rates. Passing the bill will get rid of these barriers for immigrant students, leading to an increase in the number of high school graduates. Increasing access to collegiate education extends beyond inspiring the immigrant youths to proceed to college, and serves to increase the population of skilled workers in the US, increasing the state, revenue and federal revenues.
In conclusion, it is apparent that passing the DREAM act imposes significant benefits to both the US and immigrant populations. The passing of the DREAM Act is essential because the bill will increase the number of highly qualified recruits for the US military; reduce high school attrition rates and increase college attendance; and impose significant benefits to the US economy. The DREAM Act will boost the number of undocumented graduates from colleges and high schools, leading to an increase in tax revenues and a decline in government expenditure.
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