The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation ‒ pioneered by Sen. Orin Hatch [R-UT] and Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] [...] Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service. (From their site)
It's not all undocumented (illegal, if you prefer) people who could use this, but just those who came here as kids before age 16. You know, the ones who were brought over by their parents, some of them when they were 3 or 4. Who have never even been back to the country they're from because they wouldn't be allowed back into the US. Which means the only culture they know is the U.S. The only country they know is here.
Some people say they didn't arrive legally, and that's the end of it. To them, I would say, you work on fixing the holes that let them arrive here in the first place, but if they can make this work, let them stay.
For them, completing a college degree is no small task. It takes a whole lot of money. A couple of states offer some aid to undocumented students, but most don't. The federal government certainly doesn't. They're not getting free college educations. Somehow, they and their parents are getting the money together every single year for it. And it's not like getting into college is any easier for them than it is for a regular citizen. They qualify in the same way as everyone else.
A recap of these students: They come here as kids, having no choice, they go through our school systems, they make their way through college, and then face crappy jobs and the possibility of being sent back to a country they may not remember.
And the military option - I hope you all can appreciate the risks associated with that. Fighting for the US. Right now, likely to be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Possibly dying. Things that a whole lot of citizens would rather NOT do, me included.
I do think that our whole immigration system is messed up in a lot of ways. I think that the ease with which people come into the country illegally needs to be fixed. I also think that more people should be able to get visas. If they are here legally, it is better for all involved. They would have responsibilities as well as rights. They would pay taxes and be able to fully benefit from living here. But we can't go back in time to change things for the kids, or some now young adults, that are all here now. Fix the source (make sure people get in the right way) but fix the current problem, too. Let educated, contributing members of our society continue to contribute. Don't tell those with a college education that the only jobs they can get are day laborer or field worker.
One of the reasons I'm writing about this is because four students were arrested in Arizona yesterday to try to raise awareness. Three of them were undocumented, which means they are now facing deportation. I have tried to look for information about it, but very few news sources actually have anything. Here's one, if you're interested.
K, putting away soapbox now :)