This week I completed a group project on immigration and the Dream Act for on of my education classes. Our class discussed the project yesterday, and it seems like everyone got fired up about the Dream Act from their experiences. We surveyed some undergraduate students who were either had immigrated into the United States or were children of immigrants, and interviewed some people here locally about it. One of my group members is still asking undergrad students at our university if they know about the Dream Act, even though we’re finished with the project.
So, for all of you who don’t know, the Dream Act is an act that is aimed towards people who have pretty much grown up here in the United States but are undocumented residents. Many came to the United States at a young age, and can’t even remember the country their family comes from. These students basically grow up as Americans. They grow up in our school systems, learn to speak English, but when they graduate high school they are unable to further their education and have limited opportunities. My group focused mainly on the education aspect of it. The Dream Act would allow people who have gone to a school in the US for at least 5 years, are ‘good’ citizens, and are in a certain age-range to have a route to become permanent residents. It would give them a conditional residency, then in the following six years they would have to complete either two years of higher-education or complete two years in military service leaving on honorable discharge. They would then be allowed to become permanent residents here.
The Dream Act would allow people who are already in the United States a way to better themselves, and bring in a lot more revenue for the country. Basically, if these people got deported they would be returning to a country they don’t even know – some of them may not even know the language of the country their family has immigrated from.
Through doing this project, we were able to interview a high school principal in the area. After answering our questions, he let us interview a student who was currently dealing with these immigration issues. She came into the country at just months old, has grown up here, goes to a good school here, and wants to make something of herself. Because she is undocumented, she is facing many barriers to going to college. It’s difficult to find funding as an undocumented resident, because all federal grants and scholarships require a social security number. There are some private scholarships and funding out there, and private universities have their own rules for who they give financial aid to – so there are ways to get an education without documentation, but it’s difficult. This was especially touching to me and the other people in my group, because she was a sweet girl who I could’ve gone to school with. Nobody would have ever guessed that she was facing these issues.
I understand why some people are against this act. It will not solve immigration issues here in the United States. Some people say it’s rewarding people for illegally entering into our country. I understand all of that, but this 18 year old girl did nothing wrong. She came into the country as an infant. When she looked into a way to get her citizenship here, she was told that there is no way for her to do that since she entered the country illegally. Basically, the only way she could receive it is by marrying an American citizen. Right now there are almost no options for her. The Dream Act would give her and many people like her opportunities to contribute to our country in a way that they otherwise will not be able to.
I never knew much about immigration, and I had never even heard of the Dream Act before this project. But, I think it’s something people should know about. Whether you agree with me or not about the Dream Act, it is important that we know the issues in our country that effect so many people. I’m not the best on keeping up with current events, but this really showed me why it’s important.
What are your thoughts on immigration and the Dream Act? Do a little research, and let me know what you think!