After reading many different articles about the struggles of higher education for undocumented immigrants, it made me wonder why we are punishing the students who have worked hard, got good grades, and have dreams for a better future. Why should their education stop after high school? Students should not be punished for their parent’s actions; or should they? There are many debates over this topic. Whilst education is a constitutional right for all children to attend public K-12 school,regardless of their status, undocumented students often times find out they can’t access higher education because of their status.
The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors)Act was proposed to be a pathway to higher education, military participation, and the opportunity to apply for legal permanent residency for undocumented immigrant students. Although the DREAM Act has failed to pass on the Federal level, individual states have enacted their version of the DREAM Act via undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rather than out-of state tuition. Tuition equity is available to students who have lived in the state for a certain amount of years and have graduated from a high school in that state. It cuts the cost of tuition, which they have to pay in full, for undocumented students because they are unable to receive any other help in scholarships or grants. Though this bill is one step to helping these students, only 15 states have passed this law which leaves many more undocumented students from receiving higher education. Supporters of the DREAM Act believe in rewarding hard working students who seek a college education, while also meeting its requirements if it were to pass. These students have lived in this country their whole lives, or close there to, and have nowhere else to go if denied access to higher education. While tuition equity has given a better chance for undocumented immigrants to a college education, the DREAM Act would allow them to have the full American dream.
“In this country, we don’t punish children for the actions of their parents. We reward hard work.”
Here’s a link to an article of some misconceptions about the dream act: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/ad-lib/2011/jul/13/dream-act-sparks-debate-misinformation-and-fear/
This topic has definitely sparked some heated debates and in my opinion I believe higher education should be accessible to all students.
—> How do you define American? Do you believe the DREAM Act to be fair or unfair?
Visit this website to read and view testimonies of undocumented student dreamers and supporters of the DREAM Act, view a documentary The Dream is Now, as well as become a supporter: http://www.thedreamisnow.org/stories