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Crow provides national leadership on DREAM Act

September 21, 2010

Though the DREAM Act failed to move forward in the U.S. Senate this week, ASU President Michael Crow was in Washington, D.C., to express his support for its passage. He cited basic fairness and the need to provide young people a pathway to employment.

Speaking to reporters from around the nation at a telephone press briefing, Crow said the inability of undocumented students who grew up in the United States to attend college or to find jobs is a tragic loss of talent.

“We’re dealing with children, innocent in their own actions, whose lives should not be delayed while we work out all the complexities of immigration,” Crow said. “It’s about talent acquisition and fairness. High achievement must be recognized. These children should not have to suffer for politics.”

The DREAM Act would permit immigrant students who have grown up in the United States to apply for temporary legal status and eventually become eligible for U.S. citizenship if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years. It also eliminates a federal penalty for states that provide them in-state tuition.

Students must have come to the United States at age 15 or younger, at least five years before the date of the bill’s enactment, and be of good moral character.

A vote to send a Department of Defense authorization bill to the full senate failed by four votes on Sept. 21. If the bill had gone to the senate, an attempt to include the Dream Act as part of the legislation was reportedly being considered. Senate Democrats said they plan to take up the act again after the midterm elections.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who also participated in the press briefing, singled out Crow for his leadership on the Dream Act. Other participants were John DeGioia, president of Georgetown University and Myrtle Dorsey, chair-elect of the American Association of Community Colleges.

“Dr. Crow is providing remarkable leadership in so many ways on this issue,” Duncan said. “It’s the right thing to do for our country. We need everyone trained for jobs of the future. We need their skills, their talents, their passion. We have to educate our way to a better economy.”

Crow said that passage of the Dream Act would send a signal that individuals with talent who have worked hard in school can now move forward with their lives while the immigration debate continues.

“It’s an adequate beginning to solving a problem of fairness,” he said. “Most important, we’re completing the pathway to employment.”