Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the DREAM Act, which passed the House. Below are excerpts from his statement and a link to the video.
"I understand that immigration is an issue that divides many of us in this House; it’s an issue that arouses more passion than most others. But the test of governing responsibly is whether, even in the face of those divisions, we can come together to make progress on the basis of principles that ought to be universal."
"Our choice tonight is between allowing those young people to live their lives in the shadows of America or ensuring that those who want to serve our country and contribute to our economy can stay in the country that is their home…This not an inducement to come here. This is not an inducement for somebody to bring their children here. This is to say to those children who are here, we are going to incorporate you if you play by the rules in this land that we call the land of opportunity."
"In a competitive world, America’s openness to immigration is one of its key strengths. And the beneficiaries of the Dream Act are the new Americans we want: young people who speak English, abide by the law, value education—and, in many cases, are willing to risk their lives for America as members of our armed forces."
"Our military understands the value of a new pool of motivated young men and women, committed to serving their country: Clifford Stanley, the Defense Undersecretary in charge of personnel, said that failing to pass this legislation would be 'unconscionable.'"
"Economists understand the value of these immigrants. A UCLA study found that their income will reach as high as $3.6 trillion over the course of their lives... That's an indication of their willingness as millions and millions of immigrants throughout our history added to the value of America, a nation, we call ourselves, of immigrants like my father."
"That’s why the DREAM Act is in keeping with the principles that have made America so strong and so dynamic. As Michael Gerson put it recently in the Washington Post, 'It is a principle of democratic capitalism…that ambitious human beings are not just mouths but hands and brains. They are a resource—the main source of future wealth.'"
"I urge my colleagues, let us join that lady in the harbor who lifts her lamp beside this golden door and understand why the millions and millions and millions and millions of people came from across this earth to seek opportunity in this great and generous land. Let us reflect that tonight."