Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today issued the following statement after all but two Republicans blocked the DREAM Act for the second time this year. This bill would have required children who came to America before the age of 16, and who have lived here at least five years, to serve in the military or get a college education in order to gain legal status. This bill has had the Pentagon’s support for years:
“I am deeply disappointed that once again Republicans have blocked a bill that would strengthen our national security. In addition, the DREAM Act would have grown our economy and given children brought to this country at no fault of their own by their parents an opportunity to defend our nation. Many of my Republican colleagues supported this measure in the past, but today their absence dashed the dreams of hundreds of thousands.
“Only three principled Republicans stood up to pressure from their leadership. The courage of Senators Robert Bennett, Richard Lugar and Lisa Murkowski is exemplary, and I wish more of their fellow members would have followed them.
“Our colleagues from across the aisle talk a lot about budget deficits and the need to strengthen our Armed Forces, but they blocked another opportunity to do just that. The DREAM Act would have reduced our deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years, and would have created a pool of qualified patriots willing to defend our country at a time when our service members are exhausted by multiple deployments. In fact, Secretaries of Defense from both parties have supported this bill because it strengthens our Armed Forces. But Republicans decided instead to play politics and waste the talent and commitment of these young men and women who want to give back to America.
“I am hopeful that sometime soon Republicans will drop their objections to this common-sense measure and allow these young men and women to live out their dreams of defending our nation.”