In an online commentary published today at edweek.org, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda argues that the United States would benefit financially with passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or "DREAM Act." Honda is a Democrat who is co-sponsoring the bill, which was reintroduced in Congress last month and would provide a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants who graduate from U.S. high schools and meet certain criteria.
Honda contends that the U.S. is losing out on its investment in undocumented students in K-12 schooling by not enabling them to go on to college. They can't get public financial aid if they are undocumented, so many can't afford to go to college, he notes. The immigrants will make a greater contribution to the economy if they get college degrees, he says.
Studies show, he adds, that undocumented immigrants who get legal status move on to better jobs, thus widening the tax base.
A number of people in favor of limiting immigration are against the DREAM Act, saying that it would provide "amnesty" for people who have broken U.S. immigration laws and, if passed, would encourage more illegal immigration to this country. Honda's commentary has already attracted a comment from someone in that camp.
If Congress gets around to discussing this bill, these arguments for and against the bill will be flying fast and furious over the Internet.