“Young people denied right to earn an education”….Dream Act

“It’s heartbreaking to see innocent young people denied the right to earn an education, or serve in the military because of their parents action and because of the action of a few politician in Washington” President Obama states.

One of the articles I read this week was about how Obama is trying to pass the Dream Act, which is legislation designed to help non-legal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to finish school and to gain legal status in the U.S. without getting deported. As I was reading through the article, it reminded of someone who had attended Portland State who was an undocumented immigrant, had great grades with no criminal record and during his sophomore year he was deported back to his country not knowing how to speak the language or having a home. There are many undocumented immigrants that are in his position who strives to get an education and a better life for themselves. I feel like immigrants who have been in the U.S. since they were children should have a right to get an education as well as serve in the military without having to worry about getting deported. Unfortunately the article stated that the Republicans had blocked Dream Act, which is why it has not passed yet. Some argue that letting this Act pass will bring more immigrants into our country bringing in more crime. Should we continue allowing immigrants who been in the country for years to keep getting an education without the possibility of getting deported? If it was passed, do you think it would be fair for those who have been waiting to come to the U.S. for years for a better education and future for their children or should we just worry about our own problems in the U.S. and keep deporting them?




15 thoughts on ““Young people denied right to earn an education”….Dream Act

  1. This is quite the subject. Every child should be given the right to education.
    I know many immigrants. Interestingly, most of them say that the education is better in the country of their origin. I am talking about first generation, not children of immigrants. My friend from Israel says that they are way ahead in math. She complains bitterly about how bad the U.S. is in education. “When I was in 1st grade I learned what kids here learn in 4th grade! Math here is so behind!” My Chinese friends say that China is so ahead. My South Korea friends say that their country where they were born in is the best. All say that the United States is so behind in education. This is where they chose to have their children grow up. These parents do extra math for their kids to make up for the “terrible” Unites States education system.

    I get it. My dad is an immigrant. I don’t know where Ireland is on the charts. Finland,
    South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore rate the best. The U.S. is in 17th place.
    It is such a trade off…education for other U.S. attributes. The videos I saw on this subject said that the other countries have: quality in teachers, and families with high values in education. I don’t know what the correct opinion is. I was just looking up information on how we compare to other countries.
    I always thought that this country was founded on immigrants. Where would this country be without immigrants? I guess what we have the best of is: freedom.
    Great post.
    -Jen Watt

  2. Olivia,
    I feel that this is such an important topic. My little brother’s best friend was brought here as an infant and has lived in America his whole life. After graduation he was unsure what type of future he would have access to because of all of the barriers that his immigration status presented. He was a good athlete and got A’s and B’s in school, yet while everyone he grew up with was applying for college, he was not. I feel that changes such as the Dream act are important for many young individuals like this. You mentioned the Portland State student who was deported despite being a great student and citizen. I feel that sending someone to a country they are not familiar with, that speaks a language they are not fluent in, after they have grown up in America, is horrible. I feel that child who grows up in America should be able to access higher education here, regardless of the documentation their parents did or did not have. Thanks for sharing!

      • the education system is so jacked up. how can you allow for an immigrant to attend a states pubilc school but then when it comes to their in-state colleges they either have to pay out of state tuition, just not attend college or risk getting deported. To me letting an immigrant attend school from the beginning is just like tricking a kid with a piece of candy. sure you lower them in to get the school’s count up, let them get educated and then say well it was fun while it lasted thanks a lot. Now they only have 2 options after that. That’s no where near far.

  3. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be working hard in school, getting good grades, making connections with peers, teachers, counselors, only to be deported to a country you don’t remember and have no home or life in. That is frightening to me. It’s not right. I totally believe in the DREAM Act and hope to see Immigration Reform soon!

    • I’m with you Liz. It must be so difficult to be forced from the only place you know and sent to a different country. I honestly think it must be so traumatizing for this to happen to people and I hope soon our politicians can come to an agreement that children brought here are not criminals and can be really valuable to our culture and economy.

      • I agree. The Dream Act will let them be heard for the work they have put into the school system. Being deported to somewhere you cant communicate is going to hurt them. I struggle with trying to pic up another language in a school classroom, i cant imagine being thrown u into a country where that language is a 24/7 liefstyle.

  4. Olivia, I truly have a place for this in my heart. I have some family members and friends who came here as children with their parents who are in the same position of trying to pursue an education and/or serve in the military. Some of the people I know have been completely immersed into the American culture that they do consider themselves American although they technically are not. It is difficult because being here since a child you don’t have much of your other culture. I think it’s important that children who were brought here have the right/option to stay and further their education and provide service to the country they have lived in for the majority of there life. It is a dream for them to stay here, I believe it does more harm to deport them when they have no sense of the culture/country they are going back to. If these children now young adults are trying to pursue an education I believe it is the right that we should give them. I can also see how many would fear that this would open the doors to more crimes but I believe there are more pro’s than cons that come with passing this DREAM Act.

  5. The dream is certainly a hot topic in politics. I have a similar story as well. My cousins boyfriend had a 4.0 GPA while in high school and was really conflicted because his parents and himself are undocumented. He had been in the United States since he was an infant and he and his family saw it as risky for him to try to further his education because of fear of deportation. It was really sad because he knew he could go to colleges and he even applied and got in to a few but he was still scared and was unsure of what to do. He ended up just not attending college. This is a just one of many sad stories of immigrant youth.
    To address the criminal myth and bringing more immigrants I have attached a link that actually addresses these claims.These claims are not true because there are actually restrictions that apply to the Dream Act like immigrants cannot gain citizenship if they have not lived in the U.S for 5 years before its enacted.

  6. I like that you asked about the fairness of helping undocumented immigrants when there are immigrants who ARE waiting their turn and taking legal pathways to the U.S. It’s definitely a topic that is brought up OFTEN and I’ve heard arguments from a number of naturalized immigrants who strongly oppose helping anyone in the U.S. illegally. Their attitudes basically were, “We waited. We took the long route. They should have also but they didn’t, so they should leave.”

    However, I’ve also met a number of naturalized immigrants who greatly sympathize with the plight of undocumented individuals. Many of the people who took the long route could afford to wait for their visa; some others, if they want to support themselves or their families, simply can’t. Everyone’s situation is different and not all undocumented immigrants are poor but overall, the U.S. has a pretty poor immigration system. With an ineffective system that can take years to process applications, it’s almost inevitable that some people will find a quicker route in.

    Personally, I have a lot of mixed views when it comes to immigration policy that I’m still sorting through but I do know one thing: young people who had no choice about their situation do not deserve to be punished. Yes, there are people out there waiting to come to the U.S., but it would be a mistake to view or treat DREAMers as individuals who are actively working to take spots from them.

    • Rochielle-
      I have friend of mine that moved here from Mexico and went through the long process of becoming a citizen legally, and says exactly what you said some others in her situation do… which is that she doesn’t want to give any help to anyone that is here illegally. She is mostly angry over the stereotypes that are given to Mexican immigrants, and blames illegal Mexican immigrants for those negative stereotypes. I can understand her point of view, but when it comes to these children that have been here for years and had no choice to come here in the first place… those children are placed in an impossible situation with the current immigration laws.
      I hope more are able to take advantage of the DREAMers opportunities, and that the DREAMers paperwork process becomes less expensive, and easier to navigate!

  7. Olivia,

    I am so glad that you brought up immigration reform in your post. This is an issue I have been grappling with for years as it has effected some individuals who I am extremely close to. I guess when I visit this topic, I can’t help but think about the immigration process itself. Like Rocielle, I think that the U.S. immigration system is flawed in its set up and really doesn’t work for many of the situations that immigrants face coming into this country. Like so many of the issues we have discussed in class, the issue goes much deeper than just whether or not individuals should be allowed to stay or come into the country. Immigration reform brings forth the discussion of race, prejudice, naturalization and colonization in American history. There are a number of definite systemic issues that needs to be addressed in political conversations regarding immigration and I don’t think this is currently happening.

    Though I don’t know much about the DREAM act, after reading more about it, it seems as though it is a great way to start addressing the flawed immigration system and the changing needs of the people in this country. No student should have to be sent back to a place where she has no recollection and no attachment to, simply because of her failure to provide a piece of paper saying that she was born in this country. It is ludicrous to send a high achieving, positive member of society away from this country when they are undoubtedly contributing to a better and more productive world. I sincerely hope that the DREAM act will get passed in the near future and propel change to our thoroughly defective immigration system.

    Thanks for such an insightful post.

  8. I think that blocking the dream act is punishing the wrong group of people. Students should be able to get an education no matter where they are at. I’m curious if there is a quota for how many immigrants can become citizens. I don’t see how the dream act will do anything but help our economy. It’s pretty much giving the opportunity to young people who want to make a positive impact. I have a few childhood friends who are waiting to be deported, however their home country will not take them back. I know that it is people like them that makes it tougher for innocent people. Our system needs to just focus on the ones committing crime and not punish the ones who would be beneficial.

  9. Olivia,
    I do think that people who have lived here and know, no other life than an American life should be able to stay here. They should be able to go to college and have all American privileges. When I read about some of the fears that people had about the DREAM act, I was a little upset. I don’t understand why some people feel like people form other countries will flock here in numbers to take advantage of social systems. There are so many reasons why people come here from other countries and I don’t think it is for any malicious reasons. I do however, think that deporting a young person who is doing nothing that will negatively affect anyone else, is malicious.

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