Save Our Undocumented Youth

The DREAM Act ensures undocumented youth in the U.S permanent residency.
(Photo by dreamersact.wordpress.com.)

By Mary Ogunji

The United States is looked at as a country full of freedom and various opportunities, and that is why so many people migrate to this country, right? But why are they called “illegal” or “legal” when they are humans, and not properties being sold?

I, for one am an example of an immigrant from Nigeria, Africa that came into this country to benefit from the opportunities this country has to offer. My mom and my three other siblings migrated to the U.S in November, 2004 to meet our father who was already living here, so we came here legally because he filed for immigration for us.

But that may not be the case for many who try to come to the U.S looking to start a better life.

For example, 20 year-old Jainell Webb says, “my mom left me in Jamaica when I was one year old to come here illegally, but after she got married to a legal American citizen I came here when I was five years old. I got my American citizenship in my sophomore year of high school as did my mom.”

Imagine how hard it must be for a mom to abandon her one year old child. But Webb mom’s and so many other mothers had to make that sacrifice in other for their children to have a better future.

Although there are some people who came to the U.S illegally, and ended up getting their citizenship, there are still many undocumented immigrants in this country – 11 million, some estimates say.

Webb says, “the immigration process is too long, so many cheat their way in.”

Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented journalist and an advocate for the DREAM Act says, “even though I think of myself as an American and consider America as my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.” Mr. Vargas came to America when he was 12 years old because his mother wanted a better life for him.

Another question to ask would be, why do the kids have to suffer the consequences for their parents actions by having to hide their identity or not living the American dream to the fullest? They were brought to the U.S illegally by their parents, and had no other choice but to follow them.

According to www.immigrationpolicy.org, there are about 2.1 million undocumented youths. As a result of these youths being undocumented, they are often unable to go to college – because they can’t qualify for federal financial aid –  and they cannot get high-paying jobs.

As a way to help the undocumented youths of the U.S, the DREAM Act, also known as the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, was created. It is a bipartisan legislation that can qualify an undocumented youth for permanent residency. if they attend college or serve in the military.

The DREAM Act should be passed because according to The Universal Declaration of Rights article 26, everyone has the right to education. It is unreasonable that because they are categorized as “illegal” so many young men and women do not have a chance to reach their highest potential.

Although these kids are undocumented, they still grew up in this country and went to school here, so it is absolutely wrong to deport them or stop them from pursuing a higher level of education in what is by now their home.

I consider myself lucky to have my documents, but having my documents or not does not stop America from being my home when I have lived here almost my whole life.

Therefore, I believe the dream act is essential to ensure a better life for these youths. Our youths are ambitions and they are not ‘illegal’, but people who dream to be successful in life.

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3 responses to “Save Our Undocumented Youth

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