Undocumented Student Immigrants
Many undocumented students came to the United States with their parents as young children. According to Professor Roberto Gonzales of the University of Washington [who took his Ph.D. in Sociology in University of California, Irvine], they belong to the 1.5 generation – any (first generation) immigrants brought to the country at a young age that were largely raised in this country and therefore share much in common with second generation Americans. Growing up here and sometimes having little attachment to their country of birth, these students are culturally American. English is their first language and many do not even know that their status in the country where they live is illegal until they apply for a driver’s license or college. Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, many at the top of their class, cannot go to college, cannot work and cannot pursue their dreams. These students should not be deprived of higher education because of their parent’s choices. Therefore, a proposal called DREAM Act, a “bipartisan legislation that addresses the tragedy of young people who grew up in the United States and have graduated from our high schools, but whose future is circumscribed by our current immigration laws” (National Immigration Law Center 1), should be implemented. “Under current law, these young people generally derive their immigration status solely from their parents, and if their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, most have no mechanism to obtain legal residency, even if they have lived most of their lives in the U.S. The DREAM Act would provide such a mechanism for those who are able to meet certain conditions.” Section 505 of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) states, “an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident.” However, in 1975, a revision to education laws in Texas prohibited state funds for educating children who had not been legally admitted to the United States. A case called Plyler v. Doe in which Supreme Court of the United States struck down the state statute of Texas where Tyler, Texas School District posted a policy of charging $1,000 annual tuition for each alien child in public schools. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “all aliens – even those illegally within the territorial boundaries of the United States – are entitled to equal protection of the laws” (qtd. The Telegraph) and that the school district violated the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment also known as Equal Protection Clause which states that, “[a]ll 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.” This just show that even our forefathers who made the constitution, legislators who know and make our laws, and justices who rule the courts believed that: the children who are innocent of the act done by their parents should also have the privilege and rights to have an education that American citizens have. Depriving the students to have their post-secondary education without knowing the struggles and strives they go through to be educated is such a cruel act. In order to live in a country called America: a country that they could call theirs; a country where they live their whole lives; and in a country in which their parents saw as an opportunity to have a better life – to live the American dream, the students suffered hardships that they do not deserve. Some illegal immigrant students were able to go to college. “Since 2001, 18 states –...
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