Home > Immigration > The DREAM Act isn’t perfect

The DREAM Act isn’t perfect

**I made some errors when typing this post. I was referring to illegal immigrants who obtain a college education through private scholarships/donations but are still stuck after graduation because of their illegal status. I did not mean to associate this with the DREAM Act. I do think the DREAM Act offers a possible solution to the dilemma; I am concerned for illegal immigrants who are already at college or have recently graduated …

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I have a Google alert set up to forward me any articles that include the words “Colorado” and “Hispanic.” Since as an estimated 20 percent of the state is identifies as Hispanic/Latino/Chicano, I get a lot of e-mails. But this is what I want. I want a wide angle view of Hispanic references made by the media. I want to know which stories Hispanics are appearing in.

Many, but certainly not all, of the articles include the topic of immigration.

Immigration – specifically illegal immigration – is hot in Colorado for a number of reasons. Arizona put the issue back on the map (although it wasn’t ever really off), and Colorado has some similar immigration scenarios as Arizona – such as proximity to Mexico and the need for temporary agricultural laborers, to name a couple. We have Tom Tancredo and the ongoing debate about “sanctuary” cities. In addition, Colorado has a lot of ski resorts and a reoccurring need for seasonal workers – especially in restaurants and hotels. Illegal immigration, legal immigration and the labor force are explicably connected.

One of the articles that landed in my Inbox yesterday was an editorial piece from the Aurora Sentinel based in Aurora, Colo. Titled Everyone benefits when the DREAM comes true, the article partially addresses the complicated issue of educating illegal immigrants in the United States, specifically those who have already graduated from high school. Below is an excerpt from the article:

The DREAM Act is the common-sense part of immigration reform that conservatives and liberals alike in Washington, and even here under the Colorado Capitol, agree should become law.

Despite that, emotional, bigoted and illogical opposition to the notion — which seeks to allow illegal immigrants who are U.S. high school graduates to find a way to go to college, or join the military — has died numerous deaths in Congress and locally. The measure would have created a practical path to citizenship through a college degree.

What a shame the country’s growing anti-immigrant neurosis will punish children who want to educate themselves and are just as qualified to pay state-resident tuition rates as is the most legal and distasteful xenophobe in Colorado or anywhere else.

The DREAM Act is not simply the common-sense solution to immigration reform, as the articles suggests. It is only one piece of a much larger and complicated puzzle. The DREAM Act certainly does allow some high school students get to and graduate from college, and it creates new opportunities for a group of people who maybe can’t control their current identity  as an ‘illegal immigrant.’ But what does an illegal immigrant with a college education do differently than one with a high school diploma? Maybe they have higher self-esteem. Maybe it will buy someone enough time for Colorado and the U.S. to find a pathway-to-citizenship solution. Maybe not, though. Maybe the DREAM Act  just delays the inevitable. I don’t know the answer to my questions, however, I do know this. Children who are illegal immigrants have been granted an unfortunate path in life, and while education is a crucial part of the immigration discussion, the DREAM Act might very well be ineffective without a subsequent pathway-to-citizenship.

And I would argue that the punishment the Sentinel refers to may not be limited to those illegal immigrants who can’t get an education.

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Categories: Immigration
  1. September 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm

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