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Living the Dream This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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While the majority of students are worrying about getting into their dream schools and being able to afford them, others worry about a bigger issue. Students brought to this country illegally, who must leave a blank space on applications that ask for their Social Security number, know they will not be accepted regardless of their outstanding grades and extracurricular involvement. However, there may be some hope in the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).

Of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States (70 percent from Mexico), 2.7 million are children. These young people benefit from the U.S. school system, but only up through high school. Their education often stops there due to a 1996 federal law that prohibits states from offering
in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants unless the state also offers in-state tuition rates to all U.S. citizens.

The DREAM Act is a massive amnesty program for the millions of illegal immigrants (age 12 to 35) who entered the United States before they are 16. Those who apply for this amnesty can receive conditional, temporary resident status, which can be converted, once earned, to a nonconditional green card (permanent U.S. residency) after six years. These immigrants can then use their newly acquired status to seek green cards for their parents. In this way, it can also provide amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens who brought their children to the United States.

“I don't necessarily live in fear of being deported,” says Juan, a high school junior who was born in Mexico. “For the most part, I live a normal life. Except, now everyone is getting their driver's license, and I can't.”

Juan came to the U.S. with his mother and older brother in 2000 when he was eight. He is just one of millions of students in the nation hoping for the DREAM Act to be passed. While he does not claim to have experienced any overt prejudice in high school, Juan still faces racial stereotypes.

“It bothers me when people joke around and ask me for my green card,” Juan explains. “I laugh, but deep down I know they are offending me for something I have no control over. I was born in Mexico, but my life is here.”

His older brother, who graduated a few years ago, now attends a community college and plans to transfer to a university. Juan hopes to take a similar path. “I have no doubt that I can go to college,” Juan says. “I know it's going to be hard, but as long as I stay in this country, I have a chance.”

The DREAM Act was reintroduced in both chambers of Congress last March by Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Lugar.

“I can only hope that the DREAM Act will pass,” Juan says. “All I want is a good life and a promising future, just like everyone else.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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miichellee said...
Oct. 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm:
i think this is very sad because people worry about what collage they're going to go to and where and whats the best but others that werent born here worry about having enough money to go or getting accepted !  
 
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fatburgerboy said...
Oct. 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm:
GO DREAMMM you have my support
 
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BaseGod26 said...
Oct. 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm:
I think Its sad how we always think bout our selves and others are trying to live in america and trying to go to school to get a job to make money
 
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somia786 said...
Oct. 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm:
This is so hurtful. I feel bad how immigrants get made fun of just because they dont have a green card.It is so not fair to them. It really is sad,I mean I also think that they should get atleast one chance.
 
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Hifriends said...
May 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm:
This summer I'll be working with friends and neighbors to campaign for the DREAM Act in my state. Thanks for spreading the word!
 
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ElizaJune said...
Apr. 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm:
It's very sad not being able to be normal or considered normal..I believe everynone should get a chance and I know it takes work to get where you want to go.I for one am illegal and brought here when I was four..It makes me want to cry,I absolutely love this country and I know no other place. We just aren't seen as people which in a way I can understand but all I want is a chance at life,I know we are different,but I can't do anything about it.
 
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TJJD said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm:
allowing the DREAM act is a good idea how would you feel if someone tried to keep you from entering you home?
 
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bstalker said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm:
I feel that the DREAM Act should be passed. It feel that way because for most of the children who are immigrating into the US with their parents are too young to even know that they are doing something wrong and they don't even have a choice to move or not. So I guess I just feel that its not fair for them to not get an education when they deserve for a reason that is not even their fault.
 
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tcrane said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm:
I think that Congress should pass the DREAM Act to allow the immigrants to to have an education outside of high school and middle school. I feel as if they deserve to have an education just as every other American citizen deserves one.
 
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JKuhar said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm:
I think the DREAM Act should be passed. Telling these kids they cannot go onto a higher education or get a job is like saying they dont deserve to live. That is just wrong. We all live on the same planet and we deserve to live where we want with the rights we want. Racisism needs to stop. Segregation needs to stop. I believe that once they're here.... they belong here.
 
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lshannon said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm:
I have mixed feelings about the DREAM act.i dont believe that it is the children's fault for their parents' decision to illegally enter america but i also believe that the students should take the Citizenship Test and become a student that way instead of living illegally.
 
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mgrejdus said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm:
I believe the DREAM act should be passed, simply because it isn't the children's fault they followed their parents across the border. If a person is acedemically efficient they should be able to get finantial aid to continue their education. As well as getting their driver's liensence and getting a job.
 
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samroyer said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm:
If students are going to work hard to have a good high school life, they should be able to go on to further their education. I think the DREAM act should be passed.
 
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MPatti said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm:
Just because you come from a different country doesn't mean you can't get an education.
 
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mirandagirton said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm:
I beleive the DREAM Act if passes would be a good piece of legislature in order because it is not fair to the kids, they couldn't stay in their homeland even if they wanted to, since they are minors and would have no where to live.
 
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snoll said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm:
Honestly I think they should pass the act. It's unfair to have them think they could be sent away anytime. Is they have the oppurtunity to go to school in America then they should have the right to become a U.S citizen.
 
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fbennett said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm:
yes it isnt the childrens fault but they are still illegal.they should have to go through the same process our familys had to go through
 
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ZSwank said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm:
I think that the Dream Act should pass. Because it would help out our society showing that the U.S cares. also it would be a great opportunity for undocumented students and they wouldnt have to live day-by-day fearing if they would be deported. Finally people think that illegal immigrants are gonna take our jobs but not all of them are like that they can do good for us
 
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tcorter said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm:
I feel that amy person who is in this country illegally weather by choice or not doesn't belong here and shouldn't be here and if said person wishes to come to this country and attend school here then they should go through the proper prosessing to become a citizen.
 
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13aryman said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm:
I think they should pass the dream act.  Everyone deserves to live their life the way they want to. Everyone deserves an education and a great job. Everyone deserves to be happy and they shouldnt have to live in the shadows.
 
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