Introduced at the beginning of the Bush Presidency, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act) would allow thousands of young illegal immigrants to attain permanent legal status and U.S. citizenship, if they completed two years of college or served honorably in the military for at least two years. Fast-forward eight years and we have a president who fully supports the DREAM Act. “I believe that all students, regardless of national origin, deserve an equal opportunity to a high quality public education,” Barack Obama said.
Under the relentless cloud of immigration reform and the continuous downpour from opposing sides lie children and young adults that will never see sunlight. They are guiltless individuals. They were brought to the United States, some at an age when they were unable to walk and others with their younger siblings in their arms. They studied, socialized, obeyed their parents and grew aspirations of perhaps becoming professors or astronauts.
But at some point, they realized their dreams would always be just that; pure fantasy.
The K-12 system has invested heavily in E.L.L. and E.S.L. programs, as well as some others, that benefit non-English speaking students.
Without the DREAM Act, that investment stays hidden in the shadows and is never given an opportunity to flourish. “What crime did these children commit? They committed the crime of obeying their parents,” Sen. Richard Durbin said. “These are kids without a country. They have nowhere to turn. . Give them a chance. Give them hope.”
The DREAM Act was recently reintroduced on March 26. With the vote outlook currently projected at 53 senators in favor of the DREAM Act (60 votes are needed to break a filibuster), the bill is closer than ever to passing.
Dreamactportal.com and dreamactaz.org are prime examples of grassroots movements that have drawn strong support for the bill from countless organizations, churches and schools.
With collaboration and work from student bodies across the country, we can begin to think proactively and help pass a bill that would not only impact the individuals themselves but their communities too.