America has always been viewed as the land of opportunity, where people go to seek a better life. There are some, however, who were brought to the United States illegally when they were young. These are the children of illegal immigrants.
As they grew up, immersed in American culture, they lost all memory of their country of origin and became Americanized. Unlike their parents, they can barely remember their country of birth.
When these children graduate from high school and are ready for college, they find out that in some states they are ineligible for financial aid. Their illegal status also makes it nearly impossible to find meaningful work, making college an unreachable dream.
The DREAM Act or, The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), would grant these undocumented citizens legal residency after a conditional period of six years.
Students would have to meet certain requirements, such as graduating from high school and living in the United States for at least five consecutive years. They must also have arrived in this country before age 15. Finally, they must show "good moral character" or the absence of a criminal record.
Opponents say this act is basically rewarding criminals, but these students didn't choose to immigrate to the United States. Some argue this act would cost the government money because certain rights would have to be extended to them. But the DREAM Act would do the opposite, since the government would be able to collect revenue from new taxpayers. And people who have worked hard in school will have a chance to stand out in society.
Congress should reconsider the DREAM Act to give deserving immigrant students the opportunities for which this country is renowned.
NEW VOICES is a weekly feature with original, nonfiction essays by college, high school and middle school students. Send submissions of up to 400 words to Opinion Department, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747. Or send e-mail to: newvoices@newsday .com or fax to 631-843-2986. Please include a photograph of yourself along with your address and your telephone number.
Friday, March 14, 2008
NEW VOICE~ DREAM Act Article
NEW VOICE has a weekly feature of original, nonfiction essays by college, high school and middle school students. This week there is a well-written essay by Ariadne Reza, a senior at Long Island High School about the DREAM Act.