Pass the DREAM Act now

Art by Nico of Los Poets del Norte

When I was kid, I was always told in school that you needed to go to college to get a better quality of life. Teachers always encouraged me and my fellow students to pursue a college education. They would ask the class, “what do you wanna be when you grow up ?” I always said that I wanted to be a vegetarian, because I love animals and I wanna help them. The teacher would then correct me and say, “ohh you mean veterinarian, silly.” The class would laugh and we would move on to the next kid who wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut, a dentist etc. Never once in my life growing up did it occur to me that in order to be anything great in this country, that I am proud to call my home, that you needed papers. I figured that if I did like my teachers said, I got good grades, applied myself and worked hard I would get into a college and make something of myself. Lies. Fucking lies. For the last 18 years I have been living in the U.S. as an undocumented resident because my parents wanted to move here back in November 1991. I pretended to be my cousin, while my mom and 2 year old and 1 year old sisters crossed the border in the middle of the night.  Finally meeting up with my dad again after he came to the U.S. two months earlier to get things ready for us. My story is one that thousands of other undoc individuals share, that of being brought to another country by their parents, through no choice of their own. We have assimilated, succeed and excelled in this country and yet, we are denied from reaching our full potential once we have those college degrees, we can’t legally work. Technically we don’t even exist in this country.

With the political climate the way it is right now concerning immigration in the U.S., the kind of immigration reform people are demanding from Obama and Congress isn’t going to happen any time soon. I’m tired of people demanding that more than 12 million undoc individuals in this country be given a legal status. To me, personally, they’re high as a fucking kite asking, let a lone demanding things like that. The country can’t make that happen considering everything else that’s going on. How can it bring in millions of people if it’s still trying to figure out how to solve the economic situation. Despite the positive arguments for immigration reform here, here and here, I am fucking tired of all these organizations and people that are fighting for immigration reform that are blinded by pride or just don’t have plain common sense that if the DREAM (Federal Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act passes first, it would set the stage for the kind of reform they are demanding now.

The DREAM Act has all the components both side want from immigration reform. It’s not amnesty as people make it out to seem when they argue against it. The bill itself mandates that if an individual is in this country before the age of 16, gets a high school diploma, puts in 2 years at a college towards a degree or joins the military and serves for 2 years, they will qualify for legal temporary residence. They will the be put in a probation period of 6 years, which they have to fulfill the above requirements and have a clean record free of criminal activity, they will be given permanent legal status. Basically, if we prove that we are contributing to this country, getting an education and not being a drain on society, we can earn the right to be legal residents. Key word here being EARNED. As DREAM students, we are asking for the opportunity to give back and succeed in where other citizens have not. I am a first generation DREAM Act student and since 2002, everytime it has been taken up for a vote, it has failed to pass.

We need to pass the DREAM Act now. Immigration reform is too late and AmeriKKKa won’t allow it. Imagine how much more impact real immigration will have once DREAM students have fixed their status, are college educated and continue to fight for their parents by championing immigration reform when it comes up ? All this unused potential is going down the drain because people don’t wanna compromise. They can’t understand that in order from thing major to happen, you have to take tiny steps in that direction. Learning to crawl before we walk and before we even start thinking of running.

Whenever I give presentations at classes, or I’m a speaker at a panel or just explaining the issue to someone new, I always use super hero analogies. Take the ultimate immigrant, Superman. Sent from another planet by his parents so he could have a chance at life. Adopted by an old fashioned, country couple. Raised to up hold truth, justice and the American way. An illegal alien if I ever saw one. He uses his powers to defend not only the U.S. but the everyone in his comic universe. But imagine for a second if Superman was deported to another country because of his legal status. All that potential and greatness, gone. By failing to pass the DREAM Act now, thousands of students are being stopped from making this country a better place. From achieving their ultimate potential and barred from living a life free of fear, anger and depression. Pass the DREAM Act now.

13 thoughts on “Pass the DREAM Act now

  1. Unfortunately, I think you’re right about the viability of passing CIR. I am going to march tomorrow, of course, but people need to face the hard facts, too. Incremental victories are still victories.

    Of course, a big demand can also be whittled down into a small win. If that small win is the DREAM Act, it would be a very good thing, and a significant win.

    I’m gonna write my congressperson now.

  2. I feel the same way you do brother, haha some people are fucking stupid and don’t know WTF there asking for, the American people let this shit happen by letting the people come here in the first place cuz they are cheap labor and now they want use to leave and passing fucked up shit like in Texas ya know and that’s not fair cuz like you, me, and Diana we were brought here when we were just kids and we had no fucking choice, but the thing is that the people that don’t want illigals in the united states need to realize that some of use didn’t have a say in coming to the U.S.

  3. I see your point. I’m curious to know what it is that prevents you from becoming a citizen right now, without having the Dream Act in place? (Please bear in mind that I am not familiar with the process, and am asking out of genuine curiosity). I have a Russian friend who attended university and then stayed here to work, which his Visa allows, mostly because he still works within the University system. Is there something similar that you are able to do?

    Also, I don’t know if Superman is the best analogy, for a variety of reasons..first of all, he came here as a baby from Krypton because the planet was about to explode so his folks just launched him out into space before their deaths and he was subsequently ADOPTED by two citizens, which makes him legal. (My next door neighbors just adopted a little boy from Sudan and he’s now officially a U.S. citizen, just as an example). Even so, Superman is pretty much an American, Midwestern farm boy, who has no accent and is white, so he instantly passes as any other Caucasian citizen. And even if he wasn’t a citizen, he can fly, see through buildings, destroy nuclear weapons, reverse time, and Oh, you know, is pretty much immortal, so why would anyone want to fuck with him? They couldn’t deport him even if they wanted to. I’ll bet that Clark Kent had a SSN, but I don’t know if it would’ve even been required in order to work at the Daily Planet, back in the 1930s, (when the story of Superman originated). I don’t know, it just seems like a bad analogy. Sorry to be nit-picky.

  4. Erica, you have to be a permanent resident for 5 years before becoming a citizen, and the application process for permanent residency is backlogged to the point where most applicants don’t even get a response. It’s basically impossible for Mexican immigrants to become a legal US citizen the way the system works right now.

  5. “The bill itself mandates that if an individual is in this country before the age of 16, gets a high school diploma, puts in 2 years at a college towards a degree or joins the military and serves for 2 years, they will qualify for legal temporary residence.”

    The part about serving in the military poses a little discussed about problem when it comes to the bill. Fast-tracking immigrants into the military front-lines in exchange for residence. Latino and Black communities are already targeted by the military to be cannon-fodder for this country’s wars, now the pentagon wants illegal immigrants to fight for a country that passes laws like SB1070. It’s like the black struggle and Vietnam in the 60’s and 70’s while the civil rights struggle was going on.

  6. Jorge, yes this is a HIGHLY debated clause in the act itself, but I feel it has to be in there to satisfy more conservative reps and senators that think and confuse the DREAM Act as amnesty. Personally, I would have the bill include this clause because no one can or should decide for anyone what they can do. If an individual can make a well informed decision to choose college or the army, then it’s up to that person. Military service isn’t mandatory, it’s an option because college isn’t for everyone and the army isn’t for everyone. I’m sure that there will be cases in which people still join the army after becoming legal residents. It’s a choice and I respect what a person chooses, whether it’s college or military service.

  7. Dear Random,
    I am sad that you do not agree with the requirement of becoming a legal resident. After all, you have had enough time to do it. Did you expect that there would be someone somewhere just handing out legal residencies? I am proud of the fact that you have earned an education. Now you have the opportunity to
    go to the end of the line like the rest of us have and earn your legal right to stay here.

  8. my anti-spam word was mevale, and you know what Chamuco, mevale. If there was a line for me to go to the end of I WOULD BUT THERE ISN’T. THAT’S THE PROBLEM. The DREAM Act is a new path to get to the end of that line and wait my turn like everyone else. I am no exception or a special case that should be allowed to the front of the line or get any kind of special treatment. All I and all the other DREAMERS want is the opportunity to give back and contribute just as everyone does, with the degrees he have and will earn. THERE IS NO WAY FOR ME TO GET TO THE END OF THE LINE AND WAIT MY TURN. And I suppose to go back to I country I faintly remember from childhood, live there 10 yrs and then try to apply for legal residence ? How am I going to go to a place that is as foreign to me as it is to any other American that’s never been in Mexico. Tell you what, point me to the end of the line and I’ll be happy to wait my turn like everyone else. Or I can just screw over the system and go get married, how bout that ?

  9. Dear Erica,
    Clark Kent would not need to have an SSN number. You may recall from your studies, that in those days, The Great Depression Era, there were no jobs to be had. It is more likely that you would have seen him on North Broadway waiting at the end of the soup line. I mean no disrespect to the “Silent Generation.” My grandmother too waited in line for hours on end hoping to get half of a loaf of stale bread to feed her four young children. It makes me cry just to think about it.

  10. Chamuco d Boyle Heights is changing his name to the more gentler and kinder “Tico Tico”, after the the restaurant of the same name that once stood at the northeast corner of Brooklyn and Soto in the “Sixties”.
    Does anyone out there in cyberlandia remember Brooklyn Ave. of the “Sixties”? Like the little Thrifty’s across the the street from the “Safe Wave”. Canter’s Deli, Bee’s DiscountStore, The Cheese Cake Bakery nextdoor to the old Thrifty’s, Johnsons Market and the Weinermobile?
    How about the Brooklyn Theater where at Christmas time the theater
    played cartoons for the kids an
    Variety Boys (& Girls) Club and gave gifts too?
    Tico Tico

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