By Tandy James
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “immigrant”? Many stereotypes point to people who cross the border or someone who does odd jobs to get a day’s pay. The truth is there are those who come into the country legally and there are those who cheat their way in. The people who come in not so honestly, are called undocumented immigrants and they come in all forms, shapes and sizes.
Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who grew up on American soil was and has been an undocumented immigrant for the past 20 years he has been here. He does not clean houses, or wash cars as his job. Vargas is actually a well recognized journalist and for him, the DREAM Act was too late. The DREAM(Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors)Act is a path for undocumented minors to receive full citizenship in the United States of America.
I for one think its about time that something like this is in place. These minors are not the ones to leave their native countries. Many times they have no knowledge of coming to America. They are burdened in a world of illegality because of their parents’ actions. This topic has gained some attention and various opinions across the board. Some like P.L. Fraiettae who said, “It is another attempt by government to mold its citizenry and define better vs. worse”completely disagree with the encouragement of alien minors to stay and go to school while others believe that it is a powerful step in the right direction.
My family is an immigrant family from the country of Guyana. Although we are all permanent and naturalized residents as of today, a few years ago it was much more stressful.
“You better hurry up and become a citizen,” my mother would say.
By this she meant that we didn’t have money for me to go to college and they only give out the exceptionally good scholarships to permanent residents or U.S. citizens. In retrospect this hurt a bit because “what if I didn’t become a citizen in time?” The irony would kill me due to the fact that I would be denied a better education because of my immigration status. This fact contradicts the reason I am here because receiving a better education is the very reason I’m here.
For many alien students and myself, the DREAM Act was a sign for us to take a breather. It gave us hope that we will be able to make something of ourselves despite what it says on our passports.
Anywhere I go I come across some type of negative comment on the immigration debate. Ignorance is a major contribution in the production of these comments. Thoughts that are most common are “immigrants are taking our jobs”, “they are hurting our economy”, “or they make our country a lesser place”. This is infuriating because you can just as easily take a low paying job, clean someone’s house, or pick produce but you refuse to because of pride. Don’t tell me that immigrants are taking jobs when you don’t want to take them yourself.
The DREAM Act is something big. It is something right and in our countries condition today, it is desperately needed.