Miami-Dade college students and immigration activists held an event Wednesday to support Senate leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. — who will present the DREAM Act during the Senate’s lame-duck session.

The DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow undocumented students and those wishing to join the military a path to legal permanent status, has been supported by former military personnel and Department of Defense officials.

According to Think Progress, “on a national conference call, former and retired military personnel called on Senators to pass the National Defense Authorization Act with the DREAM Act as an amendment to the legislation.”

The Immigration Policy Center cites Margaret Stock, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, and a former professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, who said,  ”In a time when several military services are experiencing difficulties recruiting eligible enlisted soldiers, passage of this bill could well solve the Armed Forces’ enlisted recruiting woes and provide a new source of foreign-language-qualified soldiers.”

The Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010-12 of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness released in December 2009 supports the DREAM initiative.

American Voices cites David S. C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness under George W. Bush, who

called for action on the DREAM Act to strengthen the military. “If their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, most of these young people have no mechanism to obtain legal residency even if they have lived most of their lives here. Yet many of these young people may wish to join the military, and have the attributes needed – education, aptitude, fitness, and moral qualifications.”

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