Is the Dream Act the right choice for America today? The Dream Act was established to provide minors under the age of 16 legal residency in the United States after meeting certain criteria. The minors need to be in the United States before the age of 16, they must have a high school diploma, they also need to comply with military services requirements. I believe that with careful consideration, these minors should be allowed legal residency in the United States. There are people who oppose the Dream Act and those who are in favor of it. Are we putting our citizens in danger or are we depriving undocumented children a chance at freedom?
In reading Krikorian’s “Dream On” piece, I initially doubted his reasons due to the fact that he is a contributor to the “National Review Online” for Republican conservative news. He brings to our attention four flaws of the Dream Act that should be amended. His first issue is the age limit of 16; Krikorian argues that the age should be significantly lower because children by that age have already established whether or not they view themselves as Americans. When children come to the United States at an earlier age, such as infants, they adapt to the American culture and would view themselves as American rather than where they were born. My observation to this is that when children come at an early age they would have less of a chance of having an accent when speaking. Children who come at a later age may have some type of accent and that could possibly be viewed to others as non American. Providing amnesty to fraudulent people is another issue that Krikorian brings up; he points out that Mahmud Abouhalima was one of those who received amnesty was among the first World Trade Center attack. Terrorism is a frightening issue since the September 11, 2001 attacks and people do not feel safe anymore. I would be concerned that the Dream Act could be an invitation for more terrorists to freely gain residency in our United States. His third problem with the Dream Act is that he believes it will attract more illegal immigrants to enter into the United States and eventually hit the “jackpot”. Krikorian’s last issue is that amnesty should only be rewarded to the children and the parents should not benefit through the children’s amnesty.
In reading Roberto Gonzalez’s “Investing in the American Dream” piece, he points out why the Dream Act should be passed by Congress. The Dream Act would provide bright and talented undocumented youths the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Poverty stricken youths would have the ability to receive financial aid for higher education and be charged instate tuition rather than out of state which can be much higher. Gonzalez also points out that the United States loses out on the potential productivity, creativity and tax revenues from these undocumented youths. Legalization can move the youths out of poverty and give them the opportunity to better their future. America is the land of opportunity and the Dream Act would help the undocumented youth achieve the same opportunity.
Roberto Gonzalez and Angela Bautisto-Chavez’s “Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA” piece provides detail on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA marks its two year anniversary and Gonzalez and Bautisto-Chavez give us the progress achieved within the past two years. The DACA increases the opportunity such as obtaining new jobs, opening bank accounts, getting credit cards, health care and increase in job earnings. The DACA also provides a boost in our economy. The DACA has provided low income students the relief of financial burden such as Elisa, who prior to DACA struggled to finance her higher education. She will start her second year of her masters program and is currently the Academic Initiatives coordinator for the department of Housing and Residential Life. Unfortunately some DACA eligible youths do not apply for the program. Some eligible youths could not afford the $465 application fee, some did not know how to go about applying, lack of resources and some individuals were waiting for even better options. My thoughts on this program is that although the DACA provide opportunity for undocumented youths, it does not provide permanent residency like the Dream Act does. This is a temporary relief for youths for a two year period but there is still a risk of deportation if they do not reapply.
Although Antonio Villaraigosa’s “Can All Children DREAM?” article refers to a republican presidential debate over a year ago, it relates very much to our presidential candidates right now. The article mentions that one issue that should be a topic for debate is the two million “dreamers” that came to America but cannot afford college tuition. An image depicts undocumented students with one holding a sign stating “Dreams Can’t Wait.” The DACA law only provides relief in about 20 states and it is not a fair option for those undocumented youths that live in states that do not offer this program. Villaraigosa says, “This isn’t just a political issue. It’s an economic issue, as well. The Center for American Progress, a D.C. based think tank, estimates that passage of the DREAM Act would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030.” Unfortunately, the only republican candidate remaining in the race, Mr. Donald Trump believes “they must go.” It is now in our hands to decide who will change our future and if the next president will be for or against the Dream Act.
We explored both sides of the Dream Act and was able to weigh in on the consequences of both sides. After reading the opposing article by Mark Krikorian, my thoughts slightly swayed in his direction. With terrorism arising everyday, I also questioned the possibility of fraudulent applicants who received amnesty. I also read Gonzalez’s both pieces which reconfirmed my initial choice of the Dream Act. We should not deprive any individual of a higher education if they cannot afford it. The DACA is only a fraction of the solution where in state tuition is not offered in all states therefore not all undocumented youths are willing to apply. I believe the Dream Act is the right choice for America today and Congress needs to approve it. I think the government is doing its best to protect its citizens and we need to stop depriving undocumented children and give them a chance at freedom.
Gonzalez, Roberto. “Investing in the American Dream” American Immigration Council, December 2, 2010. Web. October 5, 2016.
Gonzalez, Roberto and Bautista-Chavez, Angie. “Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA” American Immigration Council, June 14, 2014. Web. October 5, 2016.
Krikorian, Mark. “Dream On” in Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings. John D. Ramage, John C. Bean and June Johnson. 10th ed. New York: Pearson Education 2016. 466-469. Print. October 5, 2016.
Villaraigosa, Antonio. “Can All Children DREAM?” Real Clear Education, September 16, 2015. Web. October 5, 2016.