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What is the Dream Act?
Why We Need the Dream Act
Imagine this. Everything about you is American. You have lived it forever, since age 4, maybe 10, maybe 1. You attended US schools, adopted all the nuances and cultural aspects that clearly identify you as an "American". Your English is perfecto, no accents, no nothing. Over the phone, there is only one nationality you could be, "American". Your circles of friends include everyone of all colors and backgrounds, you listen to American pop, soul and hip-hop. You dress like those of your age group, attend school events, run for school offices, sports and are bilingual. You are a top student with dreams of college. When you go home, it is a different world. You are expected to speak your parents native language, which, part of you rejects because you live and love America and because you have forgotten some of it. Your parents speak broken elementary language, been like that since you can remember. You are expected to translate and speak for them, something that embarrasses you now after so many years. Cultural clashes occur at home as the ways of the old country are tossed out or challenged with American ways. You do love the old country but just to visit. Going back to see family only makes you realize how happy you are that you are "American" because the differences are eye popping in the standard of living. You are glad you are from the USA, especially when arriving back.
Then one normal day, out of the blue, US Immigration or ICE knocks on the door. You open it and the officer asks to see your mom and dad. Instinctively, you know this cannot be good. It isn't. You call out in your foreign language, Dad approaches. The officer asks a list of questions, Dad looks at you for translation, you do so, then run off to school. The day comes and goes and when you are back home you ask what ICE wanted.
This is when the truth comes out. This is when you find out that you actually are not Amercian, legally. This is when you find out that you were not born in the US, but elsewhere, and even though you feel totally American in every way, you are not, status-wise. Your parents tell you that ICE will deport them back to the home country within two weeks. Your world is in upheaval. Everything you have known and learned is American. Your parents also tell you that ICE may want to deport you also. You are totally pissed off at the system, your parent's lies, ICE and the world. Your plans of going to SSU or UCLA to become this or that simply vanish. You despair about your future in a foreign country- a country you were born in.
WHAT IS THE DREAM ACT?
The above scenario is what the Dream Act is all about. It is a bill in the US Congress and Senate, where qualifying applicants would be granted the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency upon completion of two years in the military or at a four year college. You would have a temp status for six years to remain in the US to acquire either of those conditions. If you go in the military, you must leave with a honorable discharge. If college, graduate with a degree. During this time, you must be a good law abiding person. The applicant must be a resident for 5 years prior and not more than 29 yrs and must have been a resident in the US since before age 16. You must have no criminal record and a HS diploma or GED. Any infractions, such as, visa abuse, a felony, public health risk, fraud, would disqualify you. Naturally, fluent in English and know American history. If you completed the requirements, you could then sponser your parents for US Citizenship after 12 yrs.
As of Jan. 2011, the Act has not passed into law. It needs to!