What is the American Dream? If you ask the common citizen of the United States this question, the response would be simple; money and success. If you were to ask an immigrant wanting to come to the United States, they would say that their American Dream is to have many opportunities that would include getting an education and becoming successful in what they studied in and to create a stable life and career for themselves and their family.
Growing up my siblings and I would sit around our family table with our grandparents and our parents and they would tell us many stories like, the journey they went through in order to come to the United States and the challenges they faced at first. When my parents first came to the United States they did not have the opportunity to go to school so they had get multiple jobs in order to support themselves and their siblings; trying to make ends meet. They had jobs in gas stations, bowling alleys, and restaurants.
When they first came to the U.S. the minimum wage was about $2.17 an hour, so as you can imagine my parents could not afford the luxuries; in their case, a car. My father would walk three hours everyday in the dark, putting his safety at risk of being either mugged or beaten for two years just to make it to work. You’re probably thinking “that’s crazy”, but till this day if you ask him “why would you go through so much”, his response would still be the same, “for my family, for my kids.”
You see, my father was willing to go through so much because he wanted to give his children anything and everything that he was not able to have. There were times he couldn’t afford shoes or food so he went to sleep hungry. My father wasn’t given the choice to go to school because he needed to help his family financially so he had to start working at the age of ten.
If you were to ask any immigrant parent what dream they have for their children, I believe they would all say they would want their children to go to school, become successful and obtain a degree.The DREAM Act, is willing to make the parent’s dream a reality. The DREAM Act stands for The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. This Act allows young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children to be able to pursue higher education, be able to qualify for financial aid, and helps them in the path to citizenship. Like any other bill, the young adults must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for the DREAM Act; “ (1) they must have arrived in the United States before the age of sixteen; (2) lived in the United States for at least five years; (3) have no criminal record ; and (4) demonstrate good moral character. Those meeting the eligibility criteria would be granted conditional non-immigrant status for ten years”( Corrunker 145).
Within that time the young adult must graduate from a high school and have a high school diploma and he or she must have a two or four year degree or have served in the United States military also between that time the young adult is allowed to travel without the fear of being deported and without having to carry a visa. By implementing the DREAM Act nationwide it will help 2.1 trillon undocumented students receive legal status. This will give them the opportunity to have a career and be financially stable.
According to Professor R. Hinojosa Ojeda, “If implemented, the DREAM Act would produce thousands of college graduates, contributing to the pool of higher-income earners needed by the nation at large”(2).The DREAM Act will help universities financially and by passing the act will allow undocumented students to have a better future and will encourage them to have a profession where they would have to contribute in taxes. The Act will also help create more jobs in the nation.
The DREAM Act is a bill that the Latino population is pushing for, many of them want to continue school and are given those opportunities but are unable to see them through due to not being financially blessed. Many of the undocumented students come from middle-class and working-class families and are unable to make such a big financial decision as paying for college. This is why the DREAM Act is such a high priority to them, it will allow them to qualify for financial aid, in-state tuition and work- study. The DREAM Act is one of the only options an undocumented student has in order to be able to pursue higher education and have legal status. The DREAM Act should be implemented nationwide because it will help our nation’s economy by supplying our nation with intelligent and hardworking people that will contribute to our taxes and help our military substantially. Also it allows a child with a dream to be successful in our society and be able to pursue education without fear of being deported or rejected because of their native country. “The purposes of the DREAM Act are to provide undocumented students with equal educational rights and to protect their human rights by providing a legal pathway to citizenship” (Caleb 58).
For many of these young adults the United States, this country is all they know. They claim the U.S as their native country because they were basically raised and lived most of their lives here. We are allowing some of these students to actually be one of the first in their families to go to college and be able to provide financially for their family in a career of their choice with higher-income and benefits. We would be helping many realize their dreams.
Caleb. Kim ”Lost American DREAM of Undocumented Students: Understanding The DREAM (Development, Relief, And Education for Alien Minors) Act.” Children & Schools 35.1 (2013) : 55-58. Academic Search Complete. Print.
Corrunker, Laura. ““ Coming Out Of The Shadows”: DREAM Act Activism In the Context of Global Anti-Deportation Activism.” Indiana Journal Of Global Legal Studies. 19.1 (2012): 143-168 Academic Search Complete. Print.
Hinojosa Ojeda, R., Cruz Takash, P., Castillo, G., Flores, G., Monroy, A. and Sargeant, D. n.p. No Dreamers Left Behind. [e-book] .: . pp. 1-13. Available through: UCLA NAID .