Share & Connect
The DREAM Act could not have been more appropriately christened. Stuck in the whirring cog of bipartisan politics, the legislation has stagnated for over a decade in both the House and the Senate. What was recently announced as the Deferred Action Process for Young People was not the DREAM Act.
Under this process, qualifying applicants are only eligible for the typical two-year work card. Unlike the DREAM Act, Deferred Action will not provide a path to legalization. It will only allow qualifying applicants to legally work and pay taxes. That particular road ends there. Not exactly the reward for a group who, if deserving, should be given the opportunity to obtain that elusive legal status, which remains unchanged by a work permit.
The idea behind the DREAM Act is that children brought to this country, whether legally or illegally, were brought at the behest of their parents and not their own. It’s a simple enough argument: if a young child is brought across the border what say did he or she have at the time? Sometimes these children are brought as young as babies, are raised here for the vast majority of their lives, and are not even fluent in the language of their country of origin.
Sometimes they’re not aware of their lack of status. A social security number does not become a concern until certain milestones begin to appear: getting a first job, obtaining a license, going away for spring break, attending college. A college education can quickly become a pricey illusion, reserved for someone with a different type of birth certificate.
But I digress. The biggest deterrent for the DREAM Act is a factor that is in the very nature of the bill: it lies within the hazy realm of immigration politics. No other political topic can be so adversely affected by other issues in the way that immigration can be. The barometer of immigration can be placed in many fields—in the economy, in international relations, in the interests of big business, and in the murky waters of race politics. Shades of gray abound in this arena.
I am not by any means claiming objectivity here, but I will allege the persuasion of logic. It is hard to argue that laws were intentionally broken by babies and young children. It becomes even sillier to argue that they should be punished for the choices of others, namely their parents who, by the way, should hardly be demonized for trying to give their kids a chance.
I cannot see the harm in rewarding young adults for becoming educated members of society, or for choosing to serve in the armed forces of a nation they desperately wish to call their own. A chance to allow determined spirits—with a clean criminal record—to legitimately work and pour money into a drained system can only work wonders. This is a system which, by the way, has already devoted many tax dollars towards the education and healthcare of this brood.
Let’s allow them to pay us back for a hefty sum that was—and continues to be—invested, throughout the span of (admittedly short) lifetimes. It only makes sense.