Editorials | Issues
|DREAM for the Future|
Mark Alvarez - PVNN
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December 06, 2010
A story is told of a young man making a small fortune. He has a luxury car, a big home and a nice lifestyle. Listeners are struck by an apparent tone of dismay. One inquires. The storyteller responds, “The young man is making a small fortune out of a larger one...”
The US Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (“DREAM Act”) would give conditional immigration status to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, lived in the U.S. for 5 consecutive years, earned a U.S. high school diploma or its equivalent, are less than 35 years old at the time of enactment and are of good moral character.
|Our society is frustrated over federal failures concerning immigration policy in law and practice. The debate is polarized and polarizing.|
Qualifying people would have to register and within 6 years complete 2 years of higher education or military service. Those who satisfied the requirement could apply for legal permanent residence five and a half years after enactment of the DREAM Act. Those who did not satisfy the requirement would be disqualified.
Opposition to the DREAM Act generally centers on the inconsistency of providing a path to residence for the undocumented or on the military provision. To the first group, does it make sense to stand against undocumented youth of good moral character? To the second group, here are words from an undocumented student (“DREAMer”) that convinced me: “We, the DREAMers, want this for our brothers, our sisters and ourselves. Leaders need to do more to encourage people to stay in school so that the military route is less appealing.”
Beside arguments concerning law, logic, statistics, etc., the words of the DREAMers are plain and powerful:
“We are all humans and immigrants in this world.” –V
“Education opened our eyes without giving us any solution.” –L
“I worry every day about the possibility that ‘la migra (ICE)” will break up the life of my family.” –N
“I felt proud until I started feeling like a criminal by applying for a job, scholarships and financial aid.” –A
“I have become an American in every way but citizenship.” –G
“I know that I deserve all the rights that come with a little card and a nine-digit number” –I
“However hard I have tried to be American, I have never been seen as American.” –D
Our society is frustrated over federal failures concerning immigration policy in law and practice. The debate is polarized and polarizing.
On November 1, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on a commissioned poll. Polling numbers indicated that 59 percent of Utahns supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The same poll indicated 60 percent support for requiring police officers to check legal residency upon reasonable suspicion after an arrest or traffic stop.
This inconsistency indicates a difficult challenge; however, we cannot afford to pass over the DREAM Act once again. A society seeking better fortune for itself should stand with DREAMers of good moral character seeking to do the same.
Mark Alvarez is a Salt Lake City attorney and a member of the city Library Board. He co-hosts a Spanish-language radio show. He currently resides in Mexico City. Contact him at alvarez_mark2004(at)yahoo.com.
Click HERE to read more articles by Mark Alvarez on PVWriters.com.