For over a decade now, various versions of the DREAM act – which was first introduced in 2001 during – yes – the Bush administration – have been repeatedly rejected by politicians who believe that the law would encourage and reward illegal immigration. In other words, opponents of the bill believe that passing it would be tantamount to granting undocumented aliens amnesty.
However, what these politicians and activists fail to see is the fact that the bill would only benefit illegal immigrants who came to this country when they were minors. In many cases, these kids were no more than babies when they arrived to this country. They had no say about it when they arrived, and many have since reached college age. In some states (even in Rick Perry’s Texas) they are allowed to attend college, but the prospect of a career in this country will forever elude them because of their legal status.
The DREAM act basically allows illegal immigrants who were minors at the time of their arrival to obtain what is called a ‘conditional status’ – they then must either attend college or serve in the military, and once those obligations are fulfilled they will be able to apply for permanent residence status. Also, these prospective citizens must also be of ‘good moral character,’ meaning that this person would not be qualified to apply if he or she had any kind of criminal record (to make it simple). If that individual failed to achieve the act’s conditions, he or she would be returned to their previous illegal status.
The DREAM act would not only benefit these people, but would also potentially reduce the country’s deficit. It would create jobs in the long run for qualified individuals, and would clearly reduce the burden of Homeland Security.
Over the GOP debates, most of the front-runners have clearly opposed a Federal DREAM act – Mitt Romney has stated that he would veto the law if he were elected, and Rick Santorum called it a “free pass.” However, these two candidates are clearly pandering to the party’s extreme right, which pretty opposes any kind of immigration reform save en masse deportation – which historically has proven to be a failure.
So I urge all my readers in the US to write to your representative in the House in support of this legislation. It’s time to expand the American Dream.