Immigration and DREAM Act In State Of The Union Speech

President Obama, spoke on immigration for longer then anyone would have thought last night, below is the text of his statement on moving forward on the DREAM Act and Immigration Reform:

One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.

Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.

While a legislative path forward on any of this is hazy at best, it was good that the President acknowledged the importance of the DREAM Act in terms of competitiveness for the country.  The White House framed the message in another way sending out a fact sheet on the speech which contained the following:

Reforming immigration laws to stop expelling talent: The President asked Congress to work with him to reform our immigration system in a comprehensive manner so that we stop expelling talented and responsible young people, whether they were brought here by their parents as children, or come from other countries to pursue college and advanced degrees. As we work to rebuild the economy, our ability to thrive depends, in part, on restoring responsibility and accountability to our immigration system.

It is of note that the Obama administration has begun to discuss both immigration and the Dream Act in terms of competitiveness and being a net positive overall for the economy. Let's hope framing the issue in this way becomes a part of the Democratic messaging around immigration in the future.