by Moses Apsan, Esq.
In his second year in office, Obama has finally seen the light and is telling lawmakers that he's ready to move forward to help pass a bill allowing thousands and perhaps millions of students who either attends college or join the military to become legal residents.
Speaking at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wednesday Obama said that he'll work with the Senate and support Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada in trying to get the DREAM Act passed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the brave and eternal immigration advocate, has said he will attach the bill to a defense policy measure the Senate may consider next week. Republicans are against handling the bills that way and have accused Reid of playing politics with the measures.
“Currently, individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally years ago through no fault of their own have no way to legalize their immigration status and go to college to improve their lives,” Reid said in a statement. “The DREAM Act would address this problem by providing that upon graduation from high school, young people who have stayed in school and out of trouble would be able to apply for conditional legal immigration status. This status would be made permanent if they continue on to college or serve in the military.”
Reid is taking a great risk in this position, as he is presently fighting for his seat as senator of Nevada, a state with a tremendous anti-immigrant momentum.
The new Tea Party Republican Party, sent out an e-mail to supporters Thursday morning enlisting their help in stopping the DREAM Act,
"We have a serious amnesty threat with the DREAM Act giving citizenship to over 2.1 million illegal students and young adults," the call to action read.
More than three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year and each year 70,000 of these graduates are undocumented students with basically no hope of pursuing their dreams to be a legitimate part of American society. These young people unfortunately, begin their life "behind the 8 ball." They do not get the opportunities most kids have as an inherent part of being a U.S. citizen. Attached to them is the notorious title of, an illegal immigrant. Most of these youths have lived in the United States for a majority of their lives and, now upon graduation from High School, they find that they cannot go to college, get decent work or even drive a car. They live in fear that their status will be discovered and they will be deported. In essence they are relegated to a sub-class, similar to the untouchables in India's past. Those living in Arizona must, by now be in a panic state.
Illegal students can only obtain permanent status through their parents; there is no independent method to accomplish legal residency for them. And if the parents are illegal, they have absolutely no way to "stand in line" and wait for legal documentation, as repeatedly and incorrectly suggested by those anti-immigration reform proponents . If they return to their country of birth, it would not guarantee a path to documented status. On the contrary, they probably could never be able to legally return.
Even so, these children are innocent and not to blame. They came along with their parents, most of them between 2 to 10 years of age. These children studied in the U.S., made American friends, and evolved into Americans. Some did not even have the knowledge about their legal status until they attempted to enter college and found out the hard way that they are illegal and have no future in the U.S. To the rescue comes the Dream Act.
During an interview last week with the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion, Reid was quoted as saying, “I just don’t want anybody to think that if we somehow just do the DREAM Act, that that solves the problem. We’ve got a bigger problem that we have to solve. We still need comprehensive immigration reform.
A statement from the National Immigration Law Center, which helps immigrants gain citizenship, said, “By bringing the long-overdue DREAM Act to a vote, Senator Reid has shown that he agrees with 70 percent of Americans who want to provide undocumented young men and women a chance to apply their full potential to making our country a better place to live.”
Time is short; November is around the corner and the lives of millions of children are at stake.