The Dream Act is Important, and Not Just for Immigrants

(Author's Note: excerpt of my weekly column in The Loop 21)

Like most legislation up for debate these days in D.C. the DREAM Act is neither new (first proposed in 2001) or as liberal (co-signed by Orin Hatch (R-UT), though he no longer supports it) as it seems. So what is the DREAM Act and why is it unlikely to pass?

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) would provide a path to citizenship -- but not exclusively grant it -- by conferring temporary legal status for a six-year period to undocumented immigrants. Eligibility would be based on the following:
  • Have proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16.
  • Have proof of residence in the United States for a least five consecutive years since their date of arrival, compliance with Selective Service.
  • Be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of bill enactment.
  • Have graduated from an American high school or obtained a GED.
  • Be of "good moral character"
It is estimated that there are over 2 million Hispanic immigrants who would be eligible, many of whom have lived in the United States most of their lives yet have no real legal status. Clearly, their current situation presents many individual obstacles -- access to jobs, higher education, and freedom to live where they would see fit as opposed to the few places where they can blend in without fear of deportation.

For instance, 75 percent of those eligible for the Dream Act reside in ten states: “led by California with 553,000 (or 26 percent of total); Texas, 258,000 (12 percent); Florida, 192,000 (9 percent); New York, 146,000 (7 percent); and Arizona, 114,000 (5 percent).” When undocumented immigrants lose, we all do. How so?

Please read more here: http://www.theloop21.com/money/the-dream-act-important-and-not-just-for-immigrants


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