Sunday, September 5, 2010

The DREAM Act debate: Nightmare for legal immigrant students

Once again, immigration has become a hot topic in the United States.

For example, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, (DREAM) Act, was re-introduced to Congress in 2009.

Like the previous versions of the DREAM Act introduced to Congress in 2001, 2005 and 2007, this 2009 version should also not be approved.

The DREAM Act is a bi-partisan proposal sponsored by Sen.Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill).

It would provide approximately 700,000 immigrant children who were brought to the United States illegally and not of their own will with a pathway to become American citizens.

These children would have to meet certain criteria to qualify for the benefits outlined in the DREAM Act.

The applicant would have to be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time the law is enacted, must have arrived in the United States before the age of 16, must have resided continuously in the United States for at least five consecutive years since just arriving, must have graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a GED, and must be of “good moral character.”

If the applicant meets these criteria, he or she could be issued temporary residency status for a period of six years during which time he or she would have to either attend college and earn at least a two-year degree or serve in the U. S. military for two years.

If the applicant fulfills all these conditions by the end of the six-year period, he or she would be granted Permanent Residency, which would open the door to U.S. citizenship.

However, if the applicant fails to complete the educational or military requirements, he or she would lose temporary residency status and be subjected to deportation.

With an estimated 65,000 unauthorized migrant youth graduating from U.S. high schools every year, according the official DREAM Act website, supporters of the DREAM Act believe it will benefit the country to give these students—in essence the “future of America”—an opportunity to pursue their hopes and dreams by either attending college or serving in the military and giving them a chance at realizing the coveted American Dream.

While I sympathize with these children’s plight, I also believe that those benefits should be given only to those immigrants who are already legal residents of the United States...

[Full Article]