Who’s There? by Irina Herrera

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Writing

Development, Relief and Education for Alien Mi...

Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historically, the U.S. has been the second home of thousands of immigrants through history. It is a land that has been forged with European, Asian, and Latin blood. We all know that the majority of immigrants have been protagonist of great and positive changes in United States history, whether through economy, education, workforce, and even serving in the military.  Without the participation of immigrants it would have never become the great country it is today. However, immigration issues have become a controversial theme since the beginning of last century until today. Since then, a lot of laws have emerged, many of them pro-immigrant and others against the naturalization of illegal aliens. The Dream Act, introduced in the senate in August 1, 2001, is the protagonist of this essay. This legislation approval is the desired right of thousands of undocumented students in the United States, and should be the first step in the amnesty program.

Consequently, a question prevails. Why do we blame thousands of children who were brought by their parents seeking a better future? The article written by Jean Pierre Espinosa (2009), “What Was Not but Could Be,” clearly answers the question. “The children of undocumented immigrants are not responsible for acquiring that status. Even though they enter into the United States illegally, the Court noted that their illegal entry resulted from the acts of their parents, which the children could not control.” At that time they were young children living in countries ravished by poverty, crime, and despair. The product of many social issues such as: families displaced by the guerrillas, U.S-Mexico border walls, “Los Mojados,” parents who did not want to be reflected in their children’s future, and so many failed immigration policies. Today their lives and futures remain uncertain, relying on the effectiveness of an immigration policy.

In order to better understand the object of this legislation, it is important that we know at least the essence of The Dream Act, which was written and passed by Dick Durbin, Senator for Illinois. He published in his United States Senate web page “Passing the Dream Act” (2011), the following points.

  • Came to the U.S. as children (15 or under)
  • Are long term U.S. residents ( continuous physical presence for at least five years)
  • Have good moral character
  • Graduated from high school  or obtain a GED
  • Complete two years of college or military service in good standing

As we can notice, it is not a gift, this demands sacrifice and hard work.  Therefore, I invited you, blameless citizens who have the authority to segregate an ethnic group without being labeled racist. Also you, some members of Congress who defend the standards of a racist agenda made up by the Supreme Court to silence any organization or institution pro-immigrant. The supporters and detractors in general, please, read and understand that the approval of this legislation is not just a matter of appealing to our human side, also there is no doubt about the benefits of the Dream Act in the economy, improving  work force and the military at the same time. Let’s give these students the opportunity to repay their gratitude to this country striving and working hard to become competent professionals in the future.

The article “Children Caught in the Immigration Crossfire” written by Kathy Kiely, USA Today, (2007), reflects the sad history of one of the 65,000 undocumented students who faced deportation 5 years ago. Fiorella Maza, a typical American teenager was deported to Peru, a country without memories. K. Kiely in her article published the short but consistent statements of this young girl. “I feel like an outcast.” When circumstances make us feel alienated, with no sense of belonging, and no hope, the consequences are devastating. Do not let that other thousands of students threatened with deportation, feel the same way as Fiorella Maza does. They belong to this country, and any other place out there could be a journey into the unknown.

Unfortunately, there are people who think that there is nothing to negotiate.

In the article written by Pamela Constable in The Washington Post news paper (2011) “Legal Immigrants Joint Fight Against Dream Act,” the author highlights trough a legal immigrant opinion, about how this law has also encountered resistance from immigrants with legal status. “I did the full legal process.” “The illegal students have no right to work or stay here.” Above was an opinion of a legal immigrant who is a member of a group called Help Save Maryland which managed to collect over 100,000 electronic signatures in the state of Maryland in order to veto the Dream Act resolution. It’s incredible this human behavior, carrying away by the incongruity, turning their faces away with indolence just because they are covered by legal documents.  I am not getting carried away by passions and biased criteria that cloud the reason. It is also important to recognize and accept that illegal immigration should not be rewarded.

Immigrants who came to this country legally have their merit, my support and respect. I certainly know the results of waiting a long eight years for a family-reunification visa. However, the reality of many others is so raw and sharp that “waiting” is not an option.  At this point, I do a lot of questioning to myself. Are these young people guests? Does anyone really care about them?  How do you approach members of Congress who turn their backs, while their taxpayers have companies that operate with the daily work and poorly paid of thousands of illegal immigrants? Where is the decency? Definitely there are a lot of speeches, laws, projects, senators, but there is just one complex reality.

Despite the time spent, the frustrations of a stony path, and the fight against forces which are determined to subdue reason and truth, there is a law that refuses to yield. Definitively, The Dream Act bill approval is an effective policy that would allow the permanence of thousands of young immigrants in this country with legal status.

References

Espinoza, J. P. (2009, January). Overview and analysis of the development, relief, and education

for Alien Minors Act (Dream Act): “What was not but could be”. The Journal of Migration

     and Refugee Issues, 5(1), 1+. Retrieved from

http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA191646767&v=2.1&u=lincclin_mdcc&it=

r&p=AONE&sw=w

Durbin, D. (2011) Passing the Dream Act. Retrieved from

http://durbin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hot-topics?ContentRecord

Constable, P. (2011) Washington Post. Retrieved from

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-immigrants-join-fight-against-dream-act

Kiely, K. USA Today, (2007) Children caught in the immigration crossfire. Retrieved from

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-10-07-Dream_N.htm

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