The lives of an estimated 700,000 undocumented young adults, ages sixteen and under, depend on a very controversial bill that has come to be known as the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act has yet not been passed, but its main purpose is to provide undocumented young adults the opportunity to receive a higher education with the intention of benefiting the American economy.
Undocumented immigrants are individuals who lack legal authorization into the United States. Unlike legal/documented immigrants, illegal/undocumented immigrants do not possess a Visa or Green Card.
DREAM Act supporters insist that with the population of immigrants growing every year, it is beneficial for the American economy to allow undocumented immigrant students to receive a higher education.
If granted a higher education, undocumented immigrants would benefit their state’s economy by paying in-state tuition fees, in addition to benefiting the country’s economy by having more people working at higher paying jobs.
According to Washington State’s DREAM Act Coalition, “In-state tuition is smart investment, as students who attend college will move into better paying jobs, paying more taxes and spending more money in their home state.”
Those opposing the DREAM Act would argue that the bill gives amnesty to those breaking immigration laws.
According to Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy at American Progress “This isn’t amnesty. Eligible youth who had no say in the decision to come to the United States would have to work hard to earn permanent residence, and the earliest they could get citizenship would be 13 years.”
There are also those who oppose the DREAM Act because they believe it may be an act of hypocrisy made by state laws that refuse to financially help legal immigrants trying to get a higher education.
According to The Heritage Foundation, “Among several other concerns, the DREAM Act rewards those who violated immigration laws granting them in-state tuition while state laws deny legal aliens on student visas tuition benefits…”
Dream Act supporters, however, would say that earning eligibility of the DREAM Act is not an easy task, and that not everyone is eligible for the Dream Act.
Individuals who are interested in applying for the DREAM Act can only apply if they moved to the United States at the age of sixteen or younger. In addition, every applicant cannot have any felonies or excessive misdemeanors both in the United States and in their countries of origin.
In order to determine if a person is eligible for the DREAM Act, every undocumented immigrant needs to undergo a thorough background check conducted by the Department of Homeland Security.
Ten years have passed since the DREAM Act was first introduced by Senator Richard Durbin in 2001, yet very few people know what the DREAM Act is. For more information on the DREAM Act visit www.wdac.info