Note: As part of this week’s multi-faceted discussion series on the many perspectives and issues associated with the DREAM Act, immigration and education, we have a post by Kristin Saito from the Enhancing Youth Literacy Capstone. Kristin volunteered this summer with the Upward Bound Program on the Portland State University campus. Here is Kristin’s post:
The DREAM Act, which stands for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, would provide conditional permanent residency to illegal individuals of good moral character who graduate from high school, arrived in the U.S. as minors, and lived in the country for 5 consecutive years prior to the bill’s enactment (Wikipedia). The DREAM Act insists upon responsibility and accountability for young people before they are able to embark upon the program and face a long, exacting process of over 6 years to complete it before they can apply for citizenship (The Washington Times Community). The DREAM Act would give more than 2 million young immigrants, who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16, the chance to become legal residents.
The DREAM Act could cost upwards of $20 billion and would cost taxpayers approximately $6.2 billion per year in tuition subsidies. The Center for Immigration Studies says that $6.2 billion is a conservative estimate and does not include the “modest” number of illegal immigrants expected to attend private institutions (Fox News).
President Obama has said that “It’s heartbreaking to see innocent young people denied the right to earn an education, or serve in the military, because of their parents’ actions” and that immigrants are a part of the American family (The Washington Times). President Obama was correct in stating that immigrants are a part of the American family, illegal aliens, however, are not. Illegal aliens have no rights under the United States Constitution and are, therefore, not being denied a right to earn an education.
During this term we have been discussing our public school system and how it has been failing our youth. There have been many suggestions that if more money were allocated to the public school system, the problems would be fixed, or at least have a higher chance of being fixed. The money that is being spent on the illegal immigrants could be spent bettering our own youth. It seems that we need to take a look at our priorities and show that OUR children really are the focus of our legislation. My question to all of you is, how can one justify spending $20 billion on children that are not citizens of our country when there are so many American students that need help?
Fox News. “DREAM Act Would Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion Per Year, Group Says.” December 2, 2010. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/02/dream-act-cost-taxpayers-billion-year-group-says/
The Washington Times Community. “DREAM Acts sparks debate, misinformation, and fear.” July 13, 2011. http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/ad-lib/2011/jul/13/dream-act-sparks-debate-misinformation-and-fear/
The Washington Times. “Obama targets Republicans for blocking DREAM Act”. September 14, 2011. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/14/obama-targets-republicans-blocking-dream-act/
Wikipedia. “DREAM Act.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DREAM_Act