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The DREAM Act: Good for Immigrants, Good for New York - Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The DREAM Act: Good for Immigrants, Good for New York

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As we are reminded every day in New York City, we are a nation of immigrants -- and a nation that believes in rewarding talent and hard work. And since the first days of the republic, immigrants have played a critically important role in doing the work and creating the businesses that keep our economy strong and growing.

That makes immigrants absolutely key to our nation's economic recovery. In these tough times, what the United States needs is more immigrants, not fewer. At the same time, our country must have more control of our borders, so that we are the ones who decide who comes to our country.

As hard as it's been to achieve this kind of comprehensive reform, right now Congress is considering new legislation called the DREAM Act. This legislation would allow young people who have grown up here a conditional path to citizenship provided they complete two years of higher education or military service.

Just think: there are more than 100,000 students in New York City schools whose future inability to become citizens is not a matter of their choice; their parents brought them here as children. There is no argument that they broke our immigration laws themselves. Unfortunately, as things stand today, once they leave school, instead of facing bright futures, they must contend with a heartbreaking reality: Ineligible for student loans and legal jobs, many of these children end up doing low-wage, off-the-books work, and some end up facing deportation. That not only hurts them; it hurts our country.

But why shouldn't our economy benefit from the skills these young people have learned right here in our public schools? They've played by the rules, worked hard, and shown they value education or military service. They are just the kind of immigrants we need to help solve our unemployment problem. Some of them will go on to create new small businesses and hire people. Others may discover the next life-saving drug or pioneer the next big invention.

This legislation has had bipartisan support in the past, so we hope the two parties in Washington will come together and pass the DREAM Act.

I've always believed that immigrants are the lifeblood of our nation -- which is why we'll continue empowering immigrants to contribute to our economy here in New York City. And we'll do that by continuing to do what we've done for the past nine years: By helping more immigrants learn English, by turning low-wage jobs into middle-class careers, by cracking down on the crooks who exploit those trying to obtain green cards, and by continuing to open the doors of City Hall to every single community in every borough.

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