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Argument: DREAM Act allows young aliens to produce more in economy

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Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.). "Do the right thing and pass the DREAM Act." The Hill. September 21st, 2010: "Our current law doesn't make sense. Each year, tens of thousands of potential new taxpayers and higher wage earners enter our job market, yet we undermine their ability to contribute meaningfully to our economy. Our high schools are graduating roughly 65,000 undocumented students each year, and these thousands are entering the marketplace far from equipped to improve their circumstances or contribute meaningfully to our economy. After funding these 65,000 students through K-12, we leave them unsupported by barring them from receiving federal aid for college (to which other students are entitled). As a result, these high school graduates will make only half the earnings a college graduate will make - at $600 a week instead of $1,000 a week - and will suffer a higher unemployment rate than college graduates - at 9 percent instead of 4 percent. Had these students been able to receive, and later pay back, federal loans for university training and eventually a college diploma, they would be able to contribute over $9,000 annually to our economy - that is, roughly $5,300 more in taxes and $3,900 less in government expenses (i.e., social services made available to the general public)." [read rest of quote in argument page.] Beyond access to financing for college, the legislation makes possible a formal pursuit for legal status for students residing in the U.S. for five years or longer. This, too, has important implications for our economy as studies have consistently shown that undocumented immigrants who receive legal status move on to significantly better jobs, thus broadening the tax base, and improving their capacity to contribute economically to society. On average, wages increase 15 percent over a five-year time period for immigrants legalized under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The DREAM Act makes this upward mobility possible – and, consequently, increased financial returns to our economy – by creating a path for undocumented immigrant youths, who entered the U.S. as children, to obtain legal permanent-resident status if, and only if, they graduate from high school and go on to college or military service."

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