So I'm surfing the Internet, when a come across a brief about the DREAM Act (http://www.nilc.org/immlawpolicy/dream/dream-basicinfo-2010-09-17.pdf). According to the brief, which was prepared by the National Immigration Law Center, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is bipartisan legislation that addresses the situation faced by young people who were brought to the United States years ago as undocumented immigrant children and who have since grown up here, stayed in school, and kept out of trouble. It goes on to say that this act is needed because so many of these undocumented immigrant children "face unique barriers to higher education."
The DREAM Act has yet to pass the House of Representatives or the Senate, even though it was first introduced in the Senate in 2001 by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). According to a November 16, 2010 Associated Press article, the legislation was reintroduced to the Senate in September, but failed to pass.
Even though the act is touted as being bipartisan, I have serious doubts that it will remain this way. Next year, the Republican Tea Party House majority will go to Washington thinking they are the people's champions. They will indeed be the people's champions if they can find the will to cooperate with President Barack Obama and Democratic legislators in both the House and Senate. That doesn't mean they should agree with everything the Obama administration proposes. It just means they should say yes, instead of no, to proposed bills that do the most good for the American people.
But if they continue the "business as usual line," meaning they focus more of their attention on getting President Obama out of office, they will undoubtedly feel the wrath of moderately conservative voters and Independents during the 2012 local, state and national elections. They will be of no use to these voters because they failed to fulfill their mandate, that of bringing balance to American governance.
I, for one, believe the DREAM Act is one of the bills that does the most good for the American people. As a Master's-level social worker, I often come in contact with seemingly undocumented immigrant children - mostly Hispanic - who have been living in this country since infancy. Because their undocumented status makes them ineligible for government assistance programs, many of these children are forced to live in poverty with their parents. Granted, they are still allowed to attend public primary and secondary schools, and post-secondary ones as well. But because their parents' don't have the money or connections to send their now teenage children to two- and four-year postsecondary institutions, many of these children grow up opting for blue-color jobs instead of white-collar. They learn early in life that the prerequisite for these white-collar jobs is a college degree.
I dare say these children's parents crossed the American borders in pursuit of the life, liberty and happiness etched in this country's declaration and constitution. But when this same country has no mechanisms for righting the wrongs of visionary, immigrant parents, you have no choice but to question whether it has become detached from the founding fathers' values. This country was, and continues to be, built on the backs of immigrants from Central and South America, as well as Africa, Europe and Asia. It now seems as if we are closing our borders to the outside world.
Many Americans tend to believe we need to protect our borders. I'm in this number, mainly because protecting our borders seemingly prevents law-abiding American citizens from being the victims of identity theft or terrorist attacks, to name only a few. But I also believe our desire for protection prevents a talented generation of immigrants from helping America continue to be the recognized leader of the free world. America's greatest strength has, and always will be, its diversity. This diversity is driven by the infiltration of racially and ethnically different individuals.
What do you think?
I look forward to reading your responses.