Today, in his first town hall discussion on Facebook Live, President Obama responded to audience questions about pressing financial issues, including U.S. deficit spending reduction, health care costs, and education costs. He also answered a question about the DREAM Act that was related to the U.S. budget deficit:
Mr. President, in your deficit reduction speech last week, you spoke of the need to not only reduce government spending, but to also increase federal revenue. In light of our nation’s budget challenges, will your administration consider revisiting policies such as the DREAM Act, which the Congressional budget office estimates will reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion, and increase government revenue by $2.3 billion over the next ten years?
— Cesar Fernandez and Elesa Rectanus,
from the Youth Round Table at the University of Florida
President Obama responded:
The DREAM Act deals with a particular portion of the population: kids who were brought here when they were young by their parents. They’ve grown up as Americans. They went to school with us, or with our kids, they think of themselves as Americans, but many of them still don’t have legal status.
What we’ve said is—especially for these young people, who are our neighbors, our friends, our children’s friends—that if they are of good character, and going to school or joining our military, why wouldn’t we want to embrace them? Why wouldn’t we want to make sure that they’re contributing to our future?
Mr. Obama also spoke about the broader challenge of comprehensive immigration reform:
I can’t solve this problem by myself. The Democratic caucus in the House is prepared to advance comprehensive immigration reform, but we’re going to have to have bipartisan support in order to make it happen. And all of you have to make sure your voices are heard, saying this is a priority, this is important.
Among the many thousands of questions posted on the Facebook event page, many supporters of the DREAM Act asked the President to respond to the letter he received from 22 U.S. Senators asking him to use his executive authority to give deferred status to undocumented immigrants who would qualify for the DREAM Act.
Facebook Live did not pose this question at the town hall, and the President did not address the issue.
When asked at the end of the town hall what would like to do better, the President Obama included immigration reform in his response:
Immigration [reform] is something we haven’t got done that I care deeply about. It’s the right thing for the country. I want to get that done while I’m President.