Many of you, who might be interested to come to the United States or are already in United States. You should know this, with a gloomy economy the country is less welcoming to immigrants these days. Even some second generation immigrants don’t accept their ethnic countrymen with open arms anymore. More immigrants mean more population, more competition for what ever job is left. Now let’s look at that term, when we talk about immigration problem it’s not all immigrants actually it’s illegal or undocumented immigrants or ‘aliens’ they are talking about. Immigration reform is a must and it will be an issue for politicians aspiring for offices for many years to come. With an ever growing Latino and pocket ethnic communities, the politicians are always counting votes before moral ground to decide which reform they are going to support and which to reject. The latest casualty seems to be DREAM Act.
Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act or in short DREAM Act, is to help those individuals who meet certain requirements, have an opportunity to enlist in the military or go to college and have a path to citizenship which they otherwise would not have without this legislation. The qualifications are pretty simple; they must have been in the United States before the age of 16, must have been in the US territory for straight five years before the act is passed, must have got their GED or high school finished with academic proof of admission in a university or enlisting for the military, must be at the age of under 35 when applying for the immigration process and must be of good character standing, meaning no criminal record of any kind. In other words, it’s not for those who come here for a university degree and start looking for jobs right away. There’s a process already for them. It’s for families and has more of a humane side to the story.
Think about it, when someone come to a country with a visa that allows not to stay but they still stay back or when one come without any legal authorization, they break the law. I won’t disagree with that. But who are the people who would take that risk or why? Most of them come here for a better life, or in short “The American Dream”. Most leave their families and friends behind to work hard and make a future. Some help their families back home, some bring them in the United States later on. These are very common story and most of you know someone who did this. With a massive border with Mexico which works as a gateway for many from Latin America and courtesy of human traffickers, all over the world, these people risk imprisonment to take their chance to change their fate. Result is a huge influx of population from many backgrounds and cultural ethnicity that may be some communities were not ready to accept in the country. I do understand that emotional part, especially when they find many of these newly migrants getting involved in violent activities it’s hard to blame the people for being angry at an open immigration process. Also the surge of the cross border drug and arms problem in the southern borders in Mexico makes it a viable cause of worry. The Dream Act doesn’t protect any of the people who are involved in criminal activities, it’s about the ones who came here without a choice or had no say in this migration process- the minors who came with their parents.
When a child moved to the US with their parents, they didn’t have much of a say in it. I’m sure a five year old didn’t push their parents to change country so they can watch movies on opening nights or go to Disneyland when ever they want. But they are also undocumented, and technically broke the law. Children are the most adaptable and open part of the society until we fill their tiny minds with thoughts. Many tell their children to be careful not to talk to strangers, stay with only people from same ethnic backgrounds and not to get involved in the greater community movements for the constant fear of getting caught by the authorities. So the children stay in their neighborhoods, don’t get much education, start working at early teens and some get involved in violent activities. Without a flexible immigration reform, at least towards these children, many would get through the crack of the system in years to come. Then there are those, who send their children to the public school system. Push them hard to do well in studies so at least they can work and thrive in life and have the life their parents didn’t have. All these children work hard, get educated only to find that they can’t go to the school they could’ve gone only if their legal status would’ve been different. Some get scholarships for their hard work but many settle for less, may be a full-stop to their academic life. Their potentials never exploited because of their immigration status. The DREAM Act gives these children a chance to make it to the community and contribute to the economy.
The part that most of the left of the polarized political spectrum is talking about is the sad stories of compassion. The right is making it a polarized issue by mixing border security and surging crimes. What none talk about is the economic factor of this act. As ever evolving tech sector will tell you, more than half of the working in the sectors, research and development, start ups are migrant graduates and migrants file for patents twice as much as native born students. If we allow the DREAM Act, then we can have a huge influx of students, who are going to contribute in our R&D sector, not only in tech but also in basic science and help United States stay push ahead in innovation. The more heads the better it is for us. Many in the academic arena will validate that migrant students come back as faculties in universities and now with tighter immigration process we have a brain drain in the academic sector. With further alienation of those who are studying here already only for immigration process we don’t help that issue. The educated sector of ethnic communities are better prepared to become a part of the mainstream American society, so they can help their immigrant communities to integrate and get involved in the greater community, which means more cross cultural commerce within small business owners. Those who have lived in a ethnic surrounding knows, there are more misconception about ethnic cultures within many migrant communities then among natives, for that many avoid mixing with other migrants. With grandchildren educated in a multicultural classroom, may be they can take their grandparents to a sushi bar or a huka bar now! We will increase source of future teachers and doctors-two sectors United States has a huge shortage and will bring new perspectives with their ethnic heritage in entrepreneurial sectors.
The law doesn’t allow the thugs to get a shot at citizenship, neither the ones who chose not to take the advantage of a career. It’s subjected to the ones who are willing to do the hard work to get education and serve the country. Another aspect is, many of these undocumented children go to our school systems at an early age. That means the tax payers are investing on them already, so why should we deprive ourselves from ripping the benefits? We keep them in the system to make sure more parents are encouraged to send their 16 year old to school so he’s life gets easier with proper documentation, rather then sending them to work so the family can have as much earning as possible. These children are going to be future taxpayers which will help the state and federal government to ease pressure on that ever increasing deficit. Our recent enrollment in science and engineering sector is dropping among native students with the complaint that most jobs in those sectors goes overseas. What we don’t see is many ethnic Chinese and Indians are actually taking the advantage of this global economic opportunity and looking for business prospects now in their ethnic countries too. With an inclusion of more educated young immigrants, we can make sure the country is earning money through these multicultural and international business entrepreneurs as they’ll be more willing to take the risk with better understanding of both cultures.
The government should sell these economic factors more to show the oppositions of the DREAM Act that these actually help the mainstream communities in more ways then we know. Besides if a man shoots and kills another man with the shooter’s five year old son beside him, we don’t call that child a criminal and prosecute him; then why are we calling these children criminals? Iowa governor-elect Terry Branstad is suggesting that his state bar children of illegal aliens from the K-12 public school system!! These are to score some cheap points with the conservative native moods, but how is this helping those children and the overall society? These children will loose their motivation and would feel alienated by the mainstream community and will be more prone to take violence as an option. Also culturally they’ll be in a limbo state. They are neither an American nor say Bangladeshi or Mexican. Their cultural alienation will make them more unproductive for the society. Unless we are planning to quarantine all of these people and throw them out of the country, which is impossible-then why aren’t we allowing those to integrate? I recently read a comment of a ‘concerned mom’ in a blog that these illegal aliens are crowding our classrooms and exposing their children to more “Un-American” elements. If these undocumented children now pay instate fee in colleges then taxpayers are paying for their tuition and maybe her children will not get admission at all. I felt sorry for her, for two reasons. One for realizing her child is not smart enough to face competition and two she doesn’t know her own country that well. The basket full of “Un-American” elements are what makes United States so unique, and the more the children from all culture mix together the better their understanding about the world will be. Also we are paying for all instate children so they can have a better chance of getting a job in the future, pay taxes and pay the taxpayers back.
The Dream Act makes more sense to me as a longterm economic reform plan then a simple compassionate immigration reform bill. I think more of us should look at it like that 🙂