The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, better known as the DREAM Act, is a legislative proposal that provides conditional permanent residency to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors and who graduated from U.S. high schools. The legislation would allow these students to enroll in a U.S. college.
The act is a true representation of the American dream, where one can better oneself through hard work, regardless of the decisions of one’s family. It would offer these students a path to become American citizens and to contribute to the richness and diversity of American society. Yet this piece of legislation was filibustered in the Senate before the end of 2010, and is unlikely to get passed with the new Republican gains in both the House and the Senate.
For a country whose supreme law states that all men 8212; meaning all people 8212; are equal, it is astonishing that many Americans are so willing to deny equal opportunities to those not born in the United States or to those whose parents dealt with the difficult process of immigrating to and trying to obtain legal residential status in the United States. At a time of rapid change in the world, America cannot afford to neglect the future by refusing to allow these students entry into college, essentially denying them the opportunity to become a vital part of American society.
Yet to some Americans, neglecting these students and then deporting them is the most logical frame of action. These people claim they want equality for all and firmly believe in the American dream, but they are quick to deny opportunities to those who are different.
This is the fundamental hypocrisy of certain elements in American society. For a nation that claims to be Christian, it is hypocritical that we deny opportunities to people based on their place of birth and the actions of their parents. As a campus predominantly composed of Christians, it seems quite ludicrous that so many students do not support equal opportunity to the “least of these.”
If one were to go around this campus and ask about the issue of helping the backbone of our society – the legal and illegal immigrant population – how many would vehemently oppose any sort of action? Would they say these immigrants take away from what is rightly ours and would devalue our education?
Instead of trying to further divide where there are minimal divisions, there must be an effort to unite and to improve the United States. When we say there is equal opportunity for all, we must mean equal opportunity for all, no matter the differences.
This is not to say that the United States should open the floodgates to anyone who wants to come here. This is saying that there needs to be a way to allow the best students to go to college, no matter their background or any actions a family member may have taken.
Yes, these students technically broke the law, but they did so as minors. Now they are ready to become educated adults and contribute to American society. These students have worked hard their entire lives and have overcome obstacles many of us will more than likely never face. It is part of the American dream that they get this opportunity. Anything less would be hypocritical, detrimental and wholly against the American idea of equality.
Drew Curd is a freshman finance major from Atlanta, Ga.