By Vania Torres Gala’n
Staff Writer, the Spartan Scoop
This story appeared originally in the Spartan Scoop, the school newspaper of Southern High School. The Spartan Scoop has partnered with the NECD Community VOICE.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is intended to provide a path to legalization for eligible unauthorized young adults. Although it does not provide permanent legal status right away, it allows individuals to apply for legal permanent resident status under a condition.
Once the act is approved, people under the age of 35 who arrived in the United States before the age of 16, have lived in the U.S for at least the last five consecutive years, and have obtained a U.S high school diploma are eligible to apply for conditional status. After their six-year conditional status, they must complete two years of college or military service to maintain their legal status.
Alien minors had their hopes on the DREAM Act since it defined their future. If the DREAM Act had been approved, alien minors who receive the legal permanent residence would have had the chance to attend college with the same benefits a legal citizen would have.
Dozens of undocumented students across Texas spent almost a month having a hunger strike in order to push the approval of the DREAM Act. On the night of Wednesday, December 8, 2010, the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives in a 216 to 198 vote. Students were overjoyed with this news but were still waiting for the Senate’s vote. After a long wait, the decade-old DREAM Act once again failed to be approved.
The Senate officially denied the approval of this act on Saturday, December 18, 2010.
“I feel that they made a mistake denying it because Hispanics would be a good contribution to the society,” said a source who preferred to remain unnamed. “Though it’s not said clear with words, we are modern slavery.”
This Act was the dream of many undocumented immigrant students who wish to attend U.S universities. Realizing that their doors were shut once again, students were full of sadness, some even with tears in their eyes after knowing that the Senate Democrats were five votes short out of the 60 needed. During the 2012 elections the DREAM Act will be proposed again.
According to migrationpolicy.org, analysis shows that once the DREAM Act was to be passed there would have been at least 726,000 unauthorized young adults eligible for conditional legal status, out of which roughly 114,000 would be eligible for permanent legal status.
Junior student Melissa would like to give a shout out to those Hispanic students that have the opportunity to attend college in the United States. Melissa says to not take this chance for granted because there are many students who wish to have this chance and are willing to do anything for this “dream act,” but are faced with the knowledge that this dream may never become reality; try your hardest to reach your dreams and don’t let anyone crash your dreams or underestimate your capacity to do things.
“Represent the Hispanic community!” Melissa said. “Also, for those who don’t have the opportunity in this country, there are many other countries in which you may attend. Trust and believe that you are not the only one facing this epidemic.”
Students at Southern High School also joined forces with ESL teacher Carol Reiner by wearing white T-shirts, which were labeled “The Dream Act is Alive! Durham Youth.” Students feel the need to express their feelings to the world and in order to do so they wear their DREAM Act T-shirts and try to demonstrate the feeling of never losing hope until the act is approved.