The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act: The DREAM Act helps immigrant children and is good for our nation.
What is the problem?
Many undocumented immigrants bring their young children with them into the United States. Those children grow up immersed in American culture. They are usually focused, hard-working students. After years of contributing to society and earning a quality American education they are left without any chance of a future after they graduate from high school. Legally they cannot obtain a job, attend many universities or join the military. Furthermore, returning back to their country of origin isn’t a real option either. Many students do not have family members left in their countries or know who they are, they may only know how to speak English, and if they leave the United States there is no hope of returning. These are students who deserve to be given opportunities that would allow them to give back to our country.
How would the DREAM Act help?
The DREAM Act will allow certain undocumented young people, who are of good moral character, to obtain legal status. Students who meet specific requirements will complete at least two years of college or military service in exchange for a green card. They are able to earn a degree or serve our country, and take away the label that restricts their future.
What are the provisions of the DREAM Act?
To be eligible for the DREAM Act students must:
Have entered the United States before the age of 16
Currently be between the ages of 12 and 35
Be present in the United States for at least 5 years continuously before applying
Have a high school diploma or GED or been accepted into college
Demonstrate good moral character.
What is the political status of the DREAM Act?
Currently Senator Richard Durbin is the sponsor of this bill in the Senate. He hopes to be able to pass the DREAM Act this year, though everyone admits that it will be difficult with so many items on the Senate calendar. Advocates for immigration reform are pushing for the DREAM Act. Although it is not comprehensive reform, it is more likely to be voted for by some members of the GOP and it would end the limbo that many young people are facing. It is important to recognize that the DREAM Act is not an alternative to comprehensive immigration reform but a step in the right direction.