By Mary Ellen Flannery
“I am an American in my heart,” Michigan student Ola Kaso told Senators in late June in the first-ever hearing on the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide a much-needed pathway to citizenship for some undocumented students who attend college or serve in the military.
The hearing, available on webcast and chaired by long-time DREAM supporter Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), in the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security featured a chorus of supporters, ranging from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense, who testified to the bill’s potential benefits to the country’s economy and armed forces.
Among the roughly 800,000 students who would qualify for DREAM are future scientists, business owners, and military leaders. Kaso, 18, who graduated from high school this month after starring in every Advanced Placement course offered, has been accepted into the honors program at the University of Michigan and plans to become a surgeon.
“Imagine what it would mean for us to invest in these students,” wrote NEA in written testimony provided to the committee for the record.