7 November 2011
California Dream Act: Rewarding an Illegal Act
Born and raised here in the U.S. many students, and parents for that matter, are currently struggling with the bills, loans, and the stress of trying to stabilize a healthy future for themselves by pursuing an education. When a law like the California Dream Act is passed, it makes those who have done nothing but follow the rules of our legal system, feel as if the right as a legal citizen is being pushed aside. The money to fund the education of these illegal immigrants has to come from somewhere, causing a bigger whole to burn in tax payer’s pocket; when the money can easily go elsewhere to legal students in dire need of it. The state of California has always portrayed itself as the “free” state and allowed equal opportunity to everyone, to the point where now legal citizenship does not seem as if it really matters anymore. The California Dream Act may seem as if it is the answer to our educational system but when better dissected we see that with limited funding, we are defying the rights of legal citizens by providing for the education of the undocumented immigrants and bearing the expense of increased taxes and tuition. So what exactly is the California Dream Act? The California Dream Act will “allow undocumented immigrants to apply for state-funded scholarships and aid to state universities” (Schools & Degrees). In order for the student to qualify they need to be able to meet certain standards such as entering the state before the age of 16, attend a four year university for a minimum of two years, they must have been on U.S. soil for at least five years, and also be in the process of applying for their citizenship. What may seem like a dream to most illegal immigrants is what legal citizens might now consider a nightmare. Forget the fact that there is already a limited amount of funds to provide for the legal students, but now our government also wants to pay the expense of illegals as well; isn’t that rewarding those that are breaking the law? By allowing undocumented immigrants to have their schooling paid for, it is going to expand enrollment in schools, resulting in a tuition increase for legal students that are currently paying their way through school. The chances of getting accepted into colleges are now lowered and maybe even taken away from some legal citizens that have always done everything the “legal” way. Granting equal rights to everyone in California has always been a goal of government officials. However, it must not be forgotten that the rights being granted are to those who have broken the law and in order to grant these rights sacrifices are going to have to be made. Legal citizenship in the United States is given the moment someone is born on U.S. soil, or it may be acquired through naturalization. Section one of the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states that: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States” (The United States Constitution). By enabling the California Dream Act we are allowing undocumented immigrants to purse an education that may result in overcrowding and a reduction of spaces that would have been available to American students. This is where legal rights as a U.S. citizen are invaded. The priority and privilege that Americans receive to continue their education after high school can possibly be reduced due to limited spaces available in the classroom once the state starts allowing undocumented immigrants into colleges. Assembly man Tim Donnelly stated: “It is absolutely, fundamentally wrong and unfair and it is an insult to people who have worked and played by the rules, including those who have come to this country...
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