The D.R.E.A.M Act
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act
When it comes to immigration reform, many people have their own opinion on how the United States government should implement immigration policies. We can all agree something needs to be done about it, but no one can seem to agree on what exactly we should do. The Federal DREAM Act has gained astonishing support in the past ten years. Members from both the Democratic and Republican parties have helped draft versions of the proposed bill which has helped gained bipartisan support. Yes, “You can say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” (Lennon, 1971). The DREAM Act will not excuse an individual for breaking the law; it will provide a minor who unknowingly broke the law at the hands of their parents with an opportunity to earn U.S. citizenship, which will ultimately benefit our country’s economy, our national security and our nation. History of the DREAM Act
Before we can address the legislative background and the overall benefits this bill will have for the American people, I think it is important to understand the conditions in which the DREAM Act was formed. Imagine for a moment, if you or someone close to you grew up in America, only spoke English, received public education, celebrated the fourth of July every year with family and friends and by all means considered yourself an “American”. Then suddenly around age 16 your parents break the news and tell you that you are not an American citizen. You discover that your parents came to the United States illegally when you were a child and you realize that by being in the U.S. illegally, you are now breaking the law as well.
At that point you realize that you’re stuck between a rock and hard place. If you continue your education and graduate from High School and even college, more than likely you won’t be able to find a job that will utilize your education or pay you a decent wage. If you leave the U.S., you’d be forced to leave your family and friends and live in a country where you don’t even know how to communicate with other people. If you stay you’re forced to live your life lurking in the shadows while running the risk of being caught breaking the law and getting deported. Unless you fall in love and marry another U.S. citizen there’s not much hope for you to gain U.S. citizenship status. Imagine having to live your life like this, being forced to pay for your parent’s actions. Is this fair or just? The Requirements
The DREAM Act was formed for these very reasons. It will enable individuals like this with a chance to become something great and help support our great nation. Some people believe that the DREAM Act will provide these individuals with amnesty by handing out a free ticket to U.S. citizenship. However, in reality the DREAM Act will not guarantee U.S. citizenship. It will provide an individual with conditional residential status and allow them to further their education and/or serve in the U.S. Military during a ten year probationary period. At the end of that ten year period an individual can then obtain permanent residential status as long as they have either served two years in the U.S. Military without having received a dishonorable discharge, earned a two or four year college degree or completed at least two years of college toward a degree with good standing (Hoffman, 2010).
The DREAM Act also has well defined requirements that must be met before an individual can be considered eligible under the bill. Individuals must have entered the U.S. when they were under the age of 16, have lived in the country for 5 consecutive years, graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a GED, display good moral character and pass an extensive background check, which shows no record of arrests and prosecution (Palacios, 2010). Legislative Background
According to an a recent article written in the...