Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dare to DREAM

It is no secret that I wish for a much more expansive immigration policy in this nation.  I've written about it at length.  In the next two weeks, the Senate may finally vote on the DREAM Act.  This legislation has been before Congress in one form or another since 2001.  The bill has already passed the House and only needs passage in the current lame duck session of the Senate.  It would permit a pathway to legal residency for current illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, have lived here for more than five years and have completed high school (or earned a G.E.D.).  To actually earn legal resident status, they would have to finish two years of college or military service.

A recent New York Times magazine article details just how deserving these young men and women are.  Some of them are in college right now, working toward a college degree that they may not be able to use for legal employment.  Imagine the courage it takes to pay tuition, go to school, and dream of a future when your only prospects are low-paying jobs in the illegal economy.  If the American dream means anything, it means opportunity for people like these students.

I will confess that it made me very proud to learn that many of the students most active in the DREAM movement are enrolled at UCLA, where I went to college.  The Chancellor of their university has spoken out in favor of the legislation.  I wish these fellow Bruins, and the hopes and dreams that they represent, the very best. They are Americans who do their nation proud.  They deserve the opportunities and prospects that the rest of us can so easily take for granted.

Please contact your Senators and ask them to support the DREAM Act.

1 comment:

Nichole said...

Colby works HR at a pork plant. Over 40% of the employees are Mexican and Central American (but their documents might say they are Puerto Rican), although many are also Asian and Russian, Arabic, and African. I taught GED classes in Norfolk where 90% of my students were immigrants who worked days at one of the area pork plants. I taught ESL in St. Joseph, Missouri, a city with a huge pork plant. Needless to say, we have pretty good and expansive experiences with immigrant workers and their families. There is no doubt whatsoever that people leading productive lives, though here illegally, deserve to stay. Many of them work harder, take fewer handouts, and put more money and "community" into the communities in which they live than their native counterparts. Though immigrants make easy scapegoats, they are an important and indispensible part of our communities. Not only that, but many of these folks were nurses, veterinarians, accountants, etc. in their home countries. These are valuable skills we could be putting to good use instead of having them wasted at a pork plant. Okay, that's all. :-)