On Saturday the Senate took a long awaited vote on the DREAM Act, a narrowly-focused bill that is good for our education system, military and taxpayers.
The debate over the DREAM Act is about whether a child who has excelled in the classroom has the opportunity to attend college and contribute to our economy. It's about whether a child whose only home is our country can have the opportunity to serve America in the Armed Forces. And it's about whether it makes good fiscal sense to have our government invest in the education of our youth and generate over $2 billion in savings through new revenues when these young people enter our workforce.
Unfortunately, despite a majority of support in the Senate, the bill was blocked by a filibuster.
The Senate's inability to pass the DREAM Act is yet another example of how we are captured by the failed immigration politics of Washington.
The DREAM Act affects tens of thousands of youth across the country who have no other home than America. They were brought here by adults at a young age, were educated in our schools, played on our athletic teams, and served in our communities.
Yet upon graduating high school, they face the cold reality of Washington's broken politics.
Because of choices of their parents, the doors of American opportunity -- of college and of military service -- never open to them. This is a tragedy, and passing the DREAM Act is our opportunity to right these countless wrongs.
As we debated the bill on Saturday, I thought of the students I met as Superintendent of Schools in Denver -- and thousands more who teachers and principals around the country encourage to 'work hard, strive to achieve. And things will be alright.' But today these kids continue to wait for opportunity because the Senate couldn't get its act together.
The defeat of the DREAM Act was an unfortunate setback, but to the youth whose future depend on it and to all other supporters of this bill, I urge you not to give up. Continue to work hard, and don't give up. It will take unshakeable commitment, but we will ultimately succeed.
Don't give up, because we will find a way to make sure you are educated in the only country you know as your home. And you can serve in the military of the only country you know as your home.
As the son of an immigrant to this country myself, I can tell you that I am committed to doing whatever I can do to move this forward and open the doors of opportunity.
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