The Dream Act
Yes, “You can say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” (Lennon, 1971). The DREAM Act will not excuse an individual for breaking the law; it will provide a minor who unknowingly broke the law at the hands of their parents with an opportunity to earn U. S. citizenship, which will ultimately benefit our country’s economy, our national security and our nation. History of the DREAM Act Before we can address the legislative background and the overall benefits this bill will have for the American people, I think it is important to understand the conditions in which the DREAM Act was formed.
Imagine for a moment, if you or someone close to you grew up in America, only spoke English, received public education, celebrated the fourth of July every year with family and friends and by all means considered yourself an “American”. Then suddenly around age 16 your parents break the news and tell you that you are not an American citizen. You discover that your parents came to the United States illegally when you were a child and you realize that by being in the U. S. illegally, you are now breaking the law as well. At that point you realize that you’re stuck between a rock and hard place.
The Dream Act Essay Example
If you continue your education and graduate from High School and even college, more than likely you won’t be able to find a job that will utilize your education or pay you a decent wage. If you leave the U. S. , you’d be forced to leave your family and friends and live in a country where you don’t even know how to communicate with other people. If you stay you’re forced to live your life lurking in the shadows while running the risk of being caught breaking the law and getting deported. Unless you fall in love and marry another U. S. itizen there’s not much hope for you to gain U. S. citizenship status. Imagine having to live your life like this, being forced to pay for your parent’s actions. Is this fair or just? The Requirements The DREAM Act was formed for these very reasons. It will enable individuals like this with a chance to become something great and help support our great nation. Some people believe that the DREAM Act will provide these individuals with amnesty by handing out a free ticket to U. S. citizenship. However, in reality the DREAM Act will not guarantee U.
S. citizenship. It will provide an individual with conditional residential status and allow them to further their education and/or serve in the U. S. Military during a ten year probationary period. At the end of that ten year period an individual can then obtain permanent residential status as long as they have either served two years in the U. S. Military without having received a dishonorable discharge, earned a two or four year college degree or completed at least two years of college toward a degree with good standing (Hoffman, 2010).
The DREAM Act also has well defined requirements that must be met before an individual can be considered eligible under the bill. Individuals must have entered the U. S. when they were under the age of 16, have lived in the country for 5 consecutive years, graduated from a U. S. high school or obtained a GED, display good moral character and pass an extensive background check, which shows no record of arrests and prosecution (Palacios, 2010). Legislative Background According to an a recent article written in the Congressional Digest (2010), the DREAM Act was first introduced back in 1995 by Richard Durbin, a
Democratic Senator from Illinois. A similar bill was also introduced around the same time by a Republican State Representative in Florida by the name of Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Even though Lincoln Diaz-Balart introduced the bill as the “American Dream Act” both bills were formed to appeal a provision of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which required that children of undocumented immigrants pay out of state tuition when pursuing a college education even if they lived in state. This provision has caused a road block for several undocumented students.
It has prevented them from furthering their education and becoming an innovative member of the U. S. workforce that our country so desperately needs in order to stay competitive in our global economy (Legislative Background on the DREAM Act, 2010). Since the bill was first drafted in 1995, there have been several revisions and appeals to congresses decision to prevent the bill from passing into law. The latest version of the bill, S. 3992, was introduced on November 30, 2010. Under this most recent revision, the conditional period was changed from six to ten years to help gain Republican support (Hoffman, 2010).
The bill was presented and passed by the U. S. House of Representatives on December 9, 2010 (Barker, 2010). Then it went before the Senate on December 18, 2010. The bill received fifty-five of the sixty required votes. A mere five votes prevented the bill from being signed into law by the President. The fallout was a huge disappointment for several people including President Obama (Rodriguez, 2011). President Obama was so disappointed in fact that he brought national attention to this issue again on January 25, 2011 during his state of the union address.
In his own words he described his support as follows: Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children ofundocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. And I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult. I know it will take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation. (para. 4) Economic Benefits Now that we know what the D. R. E. A. M Act can do for exclusive members of the undocumented youth in this country, let’s talk about what these individuals can do for our country. By allowing these bright and talented individuals to receive a college education or serve in the U. S. armed forces as a pathway to earn citizenship, we will have created an unprecedented incentive for these individuals to live up to their fullest potential. These Dreamers, as they have begun to refer to themselves as, will stimulate the economy in several ways.
According to a 7 year study conducted by Pew Hispanic Center the approximate number of high school graduates that are prevented from furthering their education or serving in the U. S military due to their undocumented status is estimated at an astonishing 65,000 per year. In addition to this study, a more current study was conducted by the Migration Policy Institute that estimates overall; approximately 2. 1 million individuals could qualify for conditional legal status. However, only about 825,000 out of the 2. million would be likely to satisfy all of the requirements clearly documented in the proposed bill [ (Hoffman, 2010) ]. One way the Dreamers will improve the U. S. economy is by increasing taxable income. They will be required to pay state and federal income taxes, just like the every other legal resident of the U. S. The amount of money that is expected to generate from this alone is projected to cut the national deficit by $1. 4 billion and increase revenues by $2. 3 billion over the next ten years based on information provided by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office [ (Miranda, 2010) ].
Another way the Dreamers will improve the U. S. economy is by increasing our market strength in the global economy. Once the law is enacted, the U. S. is expected to have the most college graduates in the world by 2020 [ (Locke, 2010) ]. We must take into consider the fact that it was immigrants that came to the U. S. and started up large corporations, such as Pfizer, DuPont, Google, Procter and Gamble and Intel, which employ millions of Americans [ (Locke, 2010) ]. It’s hard to imagine where the U. S. would be today without companies like these.
Even harder to project is the endless possibilities the U. S. stands to receive from the investment of these 65,000 undocumented youth per year by allowing them to further their education or serve in the military and reach their fullest potential. National Security Impacts In addition to the economic benefits, the DREAM Act will also benefit our country’s national security by allowing the Dreamers to serve in the U. S. military. It will help support the Department of Defense’s 2010-2012 strategic plan through enhancing the civilian workforce for the armed forces [ (Miranda, 2010) ].
Furthermore, it will provide the Department of Homeland Security with additional resources by allowing them to focus more of their time, energy and money on finding the undocumented individuals that are committing serious crimes that are a true threat in our communities [ (Miranda, 2010) ]. Opposing Views As a result of not passing the DREAM Act, some Americans may feel as though they have found a way to prevent illegal immigrants from taking away another job from a U. S. citizen. However, most of the jobs that undocumented workers get pay very little that most Americans wouldn’t take them anyway.
Americans are likely to collect more money from unemployment or other government aide than they’d make taking one of the low paying jobs that an undocumented worker is willing to take. It is also important to take into consideration the number of U. S. workers that have been put out of work due to company outsourcing, which has become a necessity for many American businesses in recent years. Several manufacturers have moved their facilities to Mexico or other neighboring countries in efforts to lower their overhead cost just to stay in business.