Like in a game, once more the Dream Act issue is on the political table. But for the young people affected by the situation it is not a game, but life itself since it affects their present and future. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (The “DREAM Act”) would provide certain illegal immigrant students who graduate from US high schools and are of good moral character, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency.
Once more the bill has been presented to congress and there is but a short period of time to have it approved this year. Every year about 6500 undocumented migrant youth graduate from U.S. high schools. Even though they have been raised in United States and for most of them this is the only country they know, they will not be able to fulfill their dreams. This is not only cruel and wrong; it is also a bad business decision since it means that the country, schools and families that have invested in these young people are about to send away that investment without giving them a chance to prove themselves here.
Passing the DREAM ACT would allow communities to benefit from the hard work of talented individuals that want to be part of the country. Instead those who oppose the bill have their minds set on punishing children, not realizing that in doing so they are denying the entire community of the young people’s support in a country with a aging population that needs their work and input.
Many education, business, labor, civil rights, and religious leader from all walks of life currently support the Dream Act. Nevertheless the DREAMEers, need everyone’s help now. They are asking people to reflect on their situation and take the necessary steps to support them in passing the bill. They have requested people to call Congressional representatives asking them to support the Bill.
DREAMers, as they have called themselves, want to be treated according to the rules of the country that has educated them and taught them about civil rights, proper negotiating channels, and dialogue. Month after month for a long time now they have protested, written, talked, demonstrated, and used all the legal arguments to inform the country about their plight and their offer for the future.
The remainder of the country has to also take a stand on this matter, and above all, ask the politicians to do the right thing by these children. One of the favorite arguments against the DREAMers is that the country would acquire an additional financial burden at a time when there is not enough money to go around; nothing could be further from the truth. These young people are willing and able to study, work and be productive. The real investment would be to move forward in their support.
The requirements for the young people would be to have entered the U.S. before the age of 16; have been physically present in the U.S. for at least five continuous years immediately before the bill becomes effective; have graduated from high school or gained admission into an institute of higher education; having “good moral character” and not having committed certain crimes; and being younger than 35 when the bill becomes effective. After a six year period of conditional permanent residency, these individuals could apply for citizenship if they had continued to demonstrate “good moral character,” continued to live in the U.S., and completed at least two years of higher education or served at least two years in the military.
By denying them this opportunity we are creating a huge NIGHTMARE, a collective one, by denying so many young people the right to exist in the only country they know as home.
Let us not play politics with this issue; we are talking about real lives!
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