The DREAM Act and the Military North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the union

. Interest in joining the armed forces has declined over the past decade. As a result, the military has lowered its recruitment standards The Department of Defense recognizes this and has called for the passage of the DREAM Act in its FY2010-2012 strategic plan in order to “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.” Allowing DREAMers to serve would increase the pool of capable, bi-lingual servicemen and women with foreign cultural awareness. This would also help to lower costs associated with recruitment of lower-qualified individuals. Immigrants have distinguished themselves in the armed forces with bravery and honor- 20% of Medal of Honor recipients are immigrants. Latinos have traditionally shown higher rates of interest in joining the armed forces than their African American and Caucasian peers. The DREAM Act (S. 729, H.R. 1751) is not an amnesty bill as some detractors may claim. First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act would provide a one-time window for immigrant youth who entered the country before the age of 16, have graduated from a US high school, posses good moral character, and have been continuously present in the US for the five years preceding passage of the bill with the chance to earn their permanent residency by committing to either two years of service in the armed forces or pursuing higher education. The United States is a nation of immigrants and the DREAM Act builds upon that tradition. The DREAM Act is a logical first step towards broader immigration reform and is the only viable proposal in Congress with a chance of passing before 2012.

The Truth About The DREAM Act


The Economics of the DREAM Act Who supports the DREAM Act?
Policies focused on mass deportation of undocumented immigrants would lose $14.5 billion in economic activity for North Carolina. Additionally, it would lose $6.4 billion in Gross State Product and at least 101,414 North Carolinian jobs. Labor income of Latino communities in North Carolina is $2.4 billion. These communities also contribute $455 million in NC tax revenue and $661 million in US tax revenue. The US Department of Commerce estimates the average total income, over the course of 40 years of work at: • High School diploma only: $1,200,000 • Bachelors Degree: $2,100,000 • Masters Degree: $2,500,000 They also estimate that a person with a Bachelors Degree will contribute $11,564 each year towards taxes and welfare. DREAMers would be better able to earn a higher wage, further contributing to the tax base and lowering certain expenditures. The cumulative impact of the DREAM Act on the US Economy could be hundreds of billions of dollars in net gain. Giving DREAMers a chance to work and earn their permanent residency removes them from a cash-based economy and into the mainstream economy. Undocumented immigrants comprise at least 5.3% of North Carolina's workforce.

DREAM Act Demographics
New immigrants and immigrant youth voters registered in North Carolina number around 120,000- nearly 10-times the margin of victory separating Barack Obama and John McCain in the 2008. There are an estimated 2,150,000 youth who could potentially benefit from the DREAM Act around the country, 51,000 of whom call North Carolina home. This makes North Carolina the 9th largest population of DREAM Act youth An estimated 825,000 of those youth are likely to complete the stringent requirements and earn their permanent residency. North Carolina's foreign-born population has nearly quadrupled since 1990. Annually, the US allocates 65,000 H-1B visas. 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from a US high school each year.

Of the 16 states with the largest DREAM Acteligible populations; Senators from 9 of those states are co-sponsors of the DREAM Act, while Senators from 2 additional states have previously co-sponsored the bill. Members of the House of Representatives from 14 of those states are co-sponsors of the House version. The DREAM Act currently has 39 co-sponsors, eight of whom signed-on in 2010, including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. 70% of likely US voters support the DREAM Act, including 80% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans. More than 50% STRONGLY support it. 69% of southern voters support it. Important government figures support the DREAM Act, including President Obama, The Department of Defense, former Joint Chief of Staff Colin Powell, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Educational Impacts
12,220 foreign students are enrolled at institutions of higher education in North Carolina and contribute $276.6 million to North Carolina's economy. Approximately 51,000 DREAMers in North Carolina could join those ranks (as well as others from around the country) and further add to those revenues. The DREAM Act would likely reduce the dropout rate among immigrant youth and lowering costs associated with support systems for high school dropouts.