A poll released today reveals strong bipartisan support for the DREAM Act, federal legislation introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) that would provide undocumented students brought to the United States as children with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status upon meeting certain requirements.
According to the survey results, 70% of Americans favor the DREAM Act, a notable increase in support compared to a similar 2004 poll that placed public support at 58%. Under the DREAM Act, students would be eligible to earn legal status if they came to the U.S. when they were very young, lived here for at least five years, stayed out of trouble, earned a high school diploma or GED, and completed at least two years of college or military service.
The poll also demonstrates significant bipartisan support (69%) for a provision within the legislation that would restore a state’s authority to determine whether or not to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students residing in their state. While the DREAM Act would not mandate states to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students, it would allow states to determine whether or not immigration status should be a factor for in-state tuition eligibility purposes.
“This research confirms the strong public support across the country and across party lines to move forward with the DREAM Act, a common-sense solution to address the hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United States as children and are left unable to pursue theAmerican dream,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, the bipartisan child advocacy organization that commissioned the poll.
“The future success of our country lies in our ability to cultivate an educated workforce capable of competing in the global economy. We cannot afford to continue losing the talent of so many students who have already been educated in American schools. We strongly urge Congress to take action this year to pass the DREAM Act.” [emphasis mine-"It's MY blog after all, so I can emphasize whatever I want!" declared Billie Greenwood.]
Every year, approximately 65,000 students graduate from American high schools facing an uncertain future. If passed, the DREAM Act has the potential to provide these young people with improved access to a higher education and a legal means by which to contribute to society.