Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Passage of the DREAM Act on the Economy

The DREAM Act can substantially benefit the U.S. economy by generating new tax revenues. In 1999, a study showed that an immigrant woman with only a high school diploma would contribute $42,000 more in taxes and $53,000 if she graduated from college; she would also reduce $3,900 in government expenses for criminal justice or welfare. This is exactly what the current economy needs: highly educated youth. The gains from increased levels of education would result in an additional $8.6 billion in income. Furthermore, higher earnings for newly legalized workers would increase tax revenues of $4.5-$5.4 billion in the first 3 years, as well as increasing consumer spending—enough to support 750,000-900,000 jobs in the U.S. Also, studies have shown that legalized workers open bank accounts, buy homes, and start businesses, which even further stimulate the U.S. economy. The National Immigration Law Center also claims that Social Security revenues will also benefit with $407 billion since more people will be paying taxes. Since more people will be employed, there will be a significant increase in the income of the affected immigrants, and consequently stimulate spending and investment. This economic trend is evident from the results of 1986’s Reagan-era Naturalization Act, which showed to dramatically improve the income.

Citing Resources:


Some people might argue that the DREAM Act will cause an immigration influx. However, this is impossible because the act clearly states that immigrants must have been at least 16 years old at the time of its enactment and lived here for at least 5 consecutive years. Thus disqualifying new immigrants. Also, the DREAM Act does not take away money from U.S. citizens because beneficiaries only qualify for student loans and federal work-study, not federal financial aid.

A more controversial issue is the idea that the DREAM Act discriminates against U.S. citizens who are charged out-of-state tuition when they attend a college outside of the state in which they grew up. I emphasize, however, that due to the students’ undocumented status, they cannot access the in-state tuition laws even though they live in those corresponding states. Therefore it’s not discrimination but an understanding of the injustice undocumented students have to overcome by having to pay out-of-state tuition without any help. Some critics might also say that this bill grants amnesty to people who were never held accountable for a crime that was committed, but we should not hold children accountable for the decision that their parents made—still, the DREAM Act covers this by having them pay a fine.

The Legislation

Each year, 65,000 talented youth graduate from American high schools to confront their illegal status. To them, college education is economically inaccessible and many of their challenges consist of inability to afford an education, find internships, and foster their academic potential. These circumstances are discouraging, and consequently 46,000-52,000 undocumented students drop out of high school because they don’t see where their future is going. However, the DREAM Act can mitigate this frustration by the favorable results it produces.

The DREAM Act rewards good character because the beneficiaries speak of America as their home, pay their taxes, and have had good moral conduct, which is tested through a criminal background check. If an undocumented student meets all the requirements: must be between ages 12-35, having arrived the United States before age 16, resided within the States for at least 5 consecutive years, and has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalence, they would be granted a 6 year amnesty period. In that period beneficiaries are to complete an associates or bachelors degree, or they can choose to serve a 2-year military term . More importantly, allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition would amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Thus, beneficiaries will qualify for low-interest student loans and federal work-study, which pay higher wages, making higher education affordable. Furthermore, many promising undocumented students will have more time to study since they will not have to work as many hours and will be able to drive with their conditional residency, saving them the commuting time. These circumstances are more favorable, reinforcing the idea that education is the key to future generations and for our nation’s success.

Information on Swarthmore's DREAM Act Coalition

-to establish a coalition among political and cultural groups
-spread awareness
-get Student Council to endorse
-get our President Rebecca Chopp to publicly support the DREAM Act (which includes writing a letter to congress)

-hold a political science department panel--to learn about the history of DREAM Act legislation's history, status, and about policy making/American Politics
-Invite speakers to address the issue
-Screen Documentaries
-table at dinning cafeteria
-(triangular) brochures on the tables
-establish a NOW project which serves to immediately aid Undocumented Students: scholarships, immigration council, college counseling, etc

We held our first interest meeting yesterday which was a great success!
our group has decided to be a coalition of groups because in order for the college to endorse the DREAM Act all the students have to support the DREAM Act, (not just the latino group)

After flyer-ing the WHOLE Campus we held our first interest meeting, which was a great success! Our attendees came because they became intrigued at what they read. The flyers were different testimonials from Undocumented Students. Since they were long, we posted them in the restrooms for interesting toilet/urinal. (We can send email the testimonials if you'd like them, just request at

Swarthmore DREAM Act Coalition

We just want to share our excitement to be part of this college movement! Education is a right, and we are fighting for justice! Therefore, we are advocating for our legislators to reintroduce S 729, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) of 2009 as a stand-alone bill. This bill addresses the problems faced daily by many talented students who were brought to the United States illegally at a young age.

This blog will serve to share the information that has inspired Swat to become more active on advocating for the passage of the DREAM Act.

After learning that Harvard's president has publicly supported the DREAM Act 2 years ago, a group of students at Swat have started organizing for this cause to follow Harvard's example.
[here's Harvard's Act on a Dream site:]

I urge everyone to join or start a DREAM Act advocacy group at your schools/organizations/unions. Here's an amazing organizing toolkit from United States Student Association:
(Also an amazing website, esp networking and etc is

There are many colleges that have already endorsed the DREAM Act which includes UC Berkeley, UC Davies, Stanford, Harvard, UPENN, and Washington U. And Yale, Princeton, Norte Dame, Tufts etc are starting their efforts as well!