DREAM Act for the future of undocumented youth

by Kim Jina

Immigrants could be classified in two groups, legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants. There are over 30 million legal immigrants in the United States. On the other hand, no one exactly knows how many undocumented immigrants are in the United States. There is only the estimated number of undocumented immigrants in the United States and it is 11 million. Undocumented immigrants in the United States are confronted with various situations. Among them, many young people have no idea why they are undocumented immigrants, because they live most of their life in the United States, have lots of American friends, and attend American schools. Most of them were brought to the United States when they were young by their parents. Some of them realized that they are undocumented immigrants when they had to prepare their passport for a school trip or tried to get a driver’s license.

They fall deep into despair with the fact that they are undocumented immigrants because they are not supposed to be in the United States where there is almost their whole life. If they are forced to go back to their home country, it is like they lose almost everything in their life.

The DREAM Act began in 2001 for giving chance to live legally in the United States to certain immigrants. The certain immigrants with good moral character would be granted temporary residency, if they meet some requirements of the DREAM Act. The requirements is that heir age must be at least 15 but less than 31, they must graduate from American high school, they arrived in the United States as minors, and they lived in the United States continuously for at least five years. Plus, if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four years’ institution of higher learning, they could gain conditional permanent residency for a six-year period and at the end of the six-year conditional period, they would be allowed to become legal U.S. citizens.

Every year, almost 65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools and most of them want to have higher education or join the military. However, with their illegal status, they cannot make their dreams come true. Of course, there is some criticism regarding this DREAM Act. They said that it is unfair to legal immigrants and it would create additional illegal immigrants. However, it is not like what the critics said, because the DREAM Act requires strict conditions.

In 2012, the president Barack Obama announced the administration would accept request for the DREAM Act. Even if they are classified into undocumented immigrants, they did not know that they were breaking the law and almost their whole life is in the United States. What is more, they think they are the U.S. citizen. Many of them are brilliant and their talents could contribute to the growth of American economy. It could be considered in a positive way. Hence, DREAM Act should be more supported to give opportunities to young undocumented immigrants for their future in the United States.

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