Every year, thousands of immigrants graduate high school with the hopes of furthering their education. Every year, thousands of immigrants are unable to go to college because they are undocumented. Each of those immigrants has a dream.
The DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, was reintroduced on May 11, 2011. It is a bill giving undocumented immigrants the opportunity to become legal citizens. The bill, however, is not open to all undocumented immigrants. There are set requirements such as the following:
- Must be 12-30 years old at the time of enactment
- Must have arrived in the U.S before the age of 16
- Must have lived in the U.S for at least 5 years
- Must graduate from a U.S high school, or get a GED
- Must plan on going to college or serving in the U.S military for at least 2 years
- Must not have any criminal convictions
As you can see, the DREAM Act is meant for those that are already here. It’s also more focused on children or teens. Those same children, who were brought here at very young ages, may not even know that they are undocumented until they are much older. Now they have to live in fear of being deported from the only place that they know and call home. Many don’t even know their home countries. These same kids have the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations as all other Americans: to succeed and be the best that they possibly can. They should not have to live in fear of being kicked out of the only place that they call home. They are indeed Americans, although not by birth. They are proud to be called Americans. They celebrate our independence day, they attend our schools and churches, and they contribute to our communities, and most importantly, they’ve become a part of us.
DREAMers are full of immense talent, just like everyone else. The only difference is their civil status. Denying DREAMers is like saying that they can’t cure the sick, although they’re perfectly capable of it. That they can’t start a successful business. All because they were brought here over something that they had no control over. These talented DREAMers can and will help our economy prosper, if given the opportunity:
- DREAMers like Walter Lara, an honor student who found out he was “illegal” when he was applying for college.
- DREAMers like Stephanie, who started at UCLA when she was 16 and works two or three minimum wage jobs to pay for her schooling.
- DREAMers like Eric Balderas, a Harvard biology major who has been in America since he was 4 and was detained when flying back to school after visiting his mother.
I’ve recently attended Senator Lugar’s symposium, and while there I was able to ask him a few questions.One of the questions was if he anticipated the DREAM Act being passed any time soon. He told me that it would probably not be passed this year, but he also informed me that 55 of the necessary 60 votes were in favor of the DREAM Act. That’s about 92% of the needed votes.
Come on DREAMers and let’s make this dream a reality! What do we want and when do we want it?