The Peoples Voice: Immigration and the Dream Act

By Sushmita Jitlall

Immigrant; it’s a word that sparks various emotions and opinions. Identifying someone as an immigrant can either hurt their feelings, or trigger nationalistic pride for their homeland. The fact of the matter is that in America, which is considered to be a melting pot, immigrants actually stand out like a broken crayon in a box made to be perfect.

Acceptance is something that America portrays with every person living in this country; however, there are still restrictions on immigrants. Most cannot find a job because of their non-citizenship status; some are not able to receive scholarships because they do not meet the requirement of being a citizen and living a normal life is almost impossible for some.

Most people come to the U.S because “It’s the land of Opportunities,” as said by Sarah Persaud. Ms. Persaud travelled to the U.S with her mother and older brother in 2010. When asked why the sudden move, she replied, “My mom brought us here to better our future.”

A majority of immigrants in the U.S in general have come here for a better life and to be exposed to more opportunities, but soon find out that in order to receive most of these things, a status of citizenship is needed. Is this the right way to do things?

A few residents of the Wakefield neighborhood in Bronx, N.Y shared their opinions on whether immigrants should be allowed a chance at citizenship in order to better their lives and do something productive with it.

“I think they should be allowed to live like an America born citizen,” said Elroy Heyliger. He was born in the U.S Virgin Islands but considers himself an American through and through. Although he faces some discrimination “because I have an accent,” he said.

Tricia Ally, who also migrated to the U.S from Guyana in 1987 feels that if doing what they’re supposed to do, and following the laws, immigrants should be granted citizenship. “This is a democratic country, it’s about chances,” she said.

“They deserve a stay here unless they do something wrong,” said George Harris, an American born citizen.

However Mr. Harris feels differently about immigrant students who try to attain a scholarship alongside citizens of the U.S. “They knock out students who are already here,” he said.

This goes along with the DREAM act that has been gaining popular attention recently. This act would allow immigrants to receive a chance at citizenship in order to go to college, serve in the military or simply get a job. There are certain requirements that need to be met in order to qualify however, according to dreamact.info.

“Everything has a catch,” Mr. Heyliger said when asked about the DREAM act. “In a sense it’s a good thing…giving other people a chance to broaden their horizons.”

‘The brightest wins,” said Ms. Ally when asked about the competition for scholarships and being accepted into college based mostly on citizenship.

However, Mr. Harris feels differently about this act, he questions the system. “Why should they (immigrants) be allowed citizenship if they’re going to school? It’s like they’re punishing the dumb people.”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but in a country that promotes democracy and power of the people, the voice of immigrants mean less than those of citizens. With new reforms on the rise, more people are speaking up on what they believe what would be beneficial for the U.S. and everyone living in it.

Referring to someone as an immigrant may come off as an insult to some, seeing as they are in the U.S to feel like an American, hoping to achieve citizenship. So shouldn’t good people be helped in their goals to better their lives?

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