DREAM Act Gives Illegal Immigrants Hope
by Elizabeth Silva '13
As the stressful period of college applications and standardized testing is finally over, it is time to relax and wait for the admission letters to come. While there are a few college things left to finish like FASA and final interviews, most Saint Ignatius seniors are thinking about which college they would like to attend.
In contrast, other seniors throughout the nation might not even have the possibility of attending college simply for one reason—they are illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants are not able to apply for financial aid, which makes college often unaffordable for them.
The Development, Reform and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act aims to help illegal immigrants (between 12 to 35 years old) who came to the United States before the age of 16 and who are of good moral character gain the opportunity to go to college or to enlist in the military. Then, the individual would be able to receive citizenship.
“The Immigration Nation Club believes that the DREAM Act provides opportunities for those who don't have the same opportunities in their home countries. For most kids here involved with the DREAM Act, the United States is their home, and they know no other home. As a club, we favor this act, as this country is a country of immigrants founded on dreams,” said James Ford ’14.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who introduced the bill in 2001, says, "[The DREAM Act] will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they've ever called home."
In June 2012, president Barack Obama announced that he would stop deportation and begin to grant work permits for students eligible for the DREAM Act. Obama is paying close attention to the DREAM Act and immigration after he received 71% of the Latino vote in the 2012 election. Latinos will make up a large percentage of the future voting population.
In regards to the policy change, Obama said, "They pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper."
Even though the DREAM Act passed in the House of Representatives in 2010, it fell short of five votes in the Senate. DREAMers, or supporters of the bill, were disappointed, but are still determined to continue supporting the bill and to eventually have the bill pass.
Progress is occurring, but slowly. Currently, New York, California, New Mexico, and Texas offer financial aid to all students—regardless of their legal status.
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