Despite the challenges they face, there is always that one student who possesses a strong work ethic and refuses to give up when things become difficult. These students are eager to learn and determined to succeed, but as they near the end of high school, a crucial question emerges: what comes next?
Each year, approximately 65,000 young adults graduate from high school without legal documentation (“The DREAM Act Immigration Access to Higher Education”). Despite having the necessary grades and qualifications for college admission, these students encounter difficulties in pursuing higher education due to their lack of citizenship or residency status.
This obstacle hinders them from qualifying for government financial assistance as their tuition fees rise significantly, even tripling in comparison to in-state students, offering some respite. There are diverse theories regarding the reasons behind individuals’ migration to this nation, irrespective of its legality. One of the primary incentives propelling their migration is to achieve a better life for themselves and their children, which includes obtaining access to superior education.
Despite the presence of a large population of undocumented individuals in the country, immigration plays a vital role in our economy. The DREAM Act not only supports students in attaining higher education and success but also contributes to the economic stability of the United States. Nevertheless, implementing the DREAM Act will require a considerable amount of time.
The United States is often chosen by individuals seeking education and employment opportunities, as it offers the chance to achieve the “American dream.” Immigrants frequently prioritize education when deciding to move to America. Sometimes, children are brought by their parents without their consent, but they are still accepted into schools. This is because parents recognize the importance of education in surpassing their own accomplishments.
Like people from various regions, many Central Americans migrate to the United States or Canada in hopes of providing better opportunities for their children. Education plays a crucial role in this pursuit as many parents have the desire for a better future for their children, commonly known as the “American dream.” However, some individuals worry that illegal immigrants may put their children’s education at risk. Romel Hernandez states that public schools with limited resources struggle to support students who are not fluent in English, resulting in significant challenges (Hernandez 19).
Many students are unable to attend school in their home country due to financial constraints. However, in the United States, these students have the opportunity to attend public schools and receive a free education. This can ultimately lead to improved job prospects with higher salaries. According to Hernandez and Romel (18), immigrants who lack higher education or extensive job skills often have limited choices for low-wage jobs and may also experience discrimination in the workplace.
Various programs in the United States provide benefits, including Medicaid and food assistance. Undocumented immigrants frequently use Medicaid for their children who were born in the country. There are those who claim that immigrants take advantage of these programs. Research conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies and other organizations indicates that illegal aliens burden America’s social systems, such as Medicaid, food assistance programs, prisons, courts, and healthcare systems.
While some critics argue that undocumented immigrants taking low-paying jobs can result in American workers being displaced and a decline in wages for all workers (Haerens 19), there are many individuals who oppose their presence in the United States due to the misconception that the majority of them are involved in drug dealing or gang affiliations. However, it is important to recognize that most of these immigrants are merely pursuing the “American Dream” and searching for opportunities to achieve greater success than what was possible in their home countries. Their aspirations parallel those of numerous family members who were unable to attain similar goals.
There is a common question about the impact of undocumented immigrants on our economy. While some argue that they have a negative effect, implementing the DREAM Act could potentially improve the situation. A study conducted in 2002 by the Center for Immigration Studies and other research organizations found that households led by illegal immigrants caused a federal government cost of over $26.3 billion. In contrast, their tax contribution amounted to only $16 billion, resulting in a net fiscal deficit of approximately $10.4 billion or $2,700 per illegal household (Haerens 19).
The enactment of the DREAM Act would have positive effects on our economy and society. Contrary to popular belief, it would reduce the deficit by almost $1.4 billion and generate $2.3 billion in revenues over ten years (Miranda). In addition, these students’ taxable income would contribute between $1.4 and $3.6 trillion to our economy, further promoting its growth (Miranda). Implementing this act would also enhance professionalism in the United States, leading to an improved quality of life for all individuals.
Furthermore, reviewing and analyzing multiple applications during the DREAM Act’s application process would create more job opportunities while collected fees from these applications would aid in stabilizing our economy.
Ultimately, enacting the DREAM Act will not only stabilize our economy but also create jobs and improve overall quality of life.
According to “The DREAM Act Immigration Access to Higher Education” (257), the process of obtaining the DREAM Act involves meeting certain criteria and fulfilling tasks both prior to and after eligibility. Achieving Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) can be a demanding path for these students, usually taking two to three months, but potentially up to six months depending on personal circumstances.
The DREAM Act sets out requirements that students must meet to be eligible, including continuous residence in the United States for at least five years and arrival in the country before turning sixteen. This age requirement is important because it proves that their parents were responsible for bringing them.
These students must possess good moral character, which in government terms implies no involvement in criminal activities, even if charged as minors. Additionally, undocumented immigrants seeking to apply should have been admitted to a higher education institution and earned a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification such as a GED. These criteria would entitle the student to conditional permanent residential status.
The purpose of the conditional permanent status is to increase the number of recruits by giving individuals a choice between obtaining a two-year college education or serving in the military for two years. If they successfully fulfill either option, they would qualify for complete legal permanent residency.
There is a debate regarding whether students who benefit from the DREAM Act should have the ability to request legal status for their family members. It typically takes these students approximately 20 years before they can do so. While the process of the DREAM Act itself is relatively short, becoming a citizen takes much longer. Consequently, only those students who possess genuine determination and dedication to succeeding in life would be able to obtain legal status through their diligent efforts (Miranda).
Undocumented families come to the United States with the hope of bettering their lives and those of their children. The United States highly regards students who work hard to accomplish their future objectives, granting these families opportunities to enroll in school and access vital services such as Medicaid and food assistance.
The DREAM Act is expected to bring positive effects to the economy and improve professionalism and quality of life in the United States. It envisions a committed student who puts in effort, excels academically, and dreams of a successful future. As this student proudly accepts their diploma on stage, their glowing smile reflects the realization that they now have the opportunity to go to college and chase after their cherished “American dream.”