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

May 7, 2009
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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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poetry_addict said...
Jun. 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm
I agree but what about the say six year old who is up against a illegal for college. THey have the same education same outstanding recommendations same straight As. Who would be picked? THe american. THis is the way it should be. For while these children were smuggled. A child pays for the sins of there fathers. THe bible itself says that. A parent should think of these things an should legalize both themselves an there children.
KCGarza replied...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 11:38 am
I don't see how it's at all fair that a child should have to suffer the consequences of decisions their parents made. Just saying "the bible says so" doesn't make it right. If a student works hard enough, they should be rewarded, regardless of their nationality.
VirginieC This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 7:55 pm
I wouldn't rely on the bible...
TheInnocentOne replied...
Jun. 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm
Whatever happened to separating state and church?
poetry_addict said...
Jun. 13, 2010 at 4:00 pm
I do not believe that these illegal citizens should benefit from our school system. THey are taking the opportunity away from an actual citizen. I hurt for these people an am sad for there cause. But I know that when I try to get into college. It is going to be hard for me. FOr in colleges now you have to have a certain ammount from every race. So sya I, a straight A student with tons of volunteer work an great letters of recommendation is put up against a Hispanic student who has straight Bs so... (more »)
smalltownshorty replied...
Nov. 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm
I agree 10 times over. We say we are at a point where we don't want racism anymore, but this is still racism. Maybe not in the way it is usualy thought in but it is still the same. The best person should get the spot regardless of his or her race.
BrokenInnocence replied...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 6:05 am
Agree completely, is it really fair that I work consistently to get into the school of my choice but get ousted just because another person of another race applied and was used to reach the quota on that race? I don't think so.
ljlj replied...
May 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm
then get into a diffrent college if your having problems getting into a college with those grades you must of been procrastinating. Turn in your admissions packet early so you can have a good chance of getting in and not have to worry about racial quotas.
RiverSong replied...
Jun. 22, 2011 at 10:57 am
poetry_addict, while I respect your situation and agree that something is very wrong there, I don't understand what that has to do with the article.  Also, you say that illegal immigrants should not have a place in our school system because they entered the country by breaking the law.  What about the children?  Does a five-year-old have any choice or say in what his or her parents do?  And would you really deny this five-year-old an equal education and an equal chance to hav... (more »)
DreamsAreBroken replied...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 8:13 am
The sins of the father shall go the child. While I do not agree with this, its fact. Just because I dont agree or like something dosnt mean that I should stray from the way it needs to be done. If you break the law, even if your parents break the law by sneaking into this country, you are here illegally. I do not agree with this but I understand it. Because we cannot allow anything illegal to happen. You cant pick and choose because of age.
mexican32 said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm
I am the oldest son of illegal immigrants and im goin to one of the best schools in California. Theres actually a lot of latinos there. what do you say to that?
Mayra D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 2, 2010 at 8:11 am
If you had read the article you would find that it has nothing to do with Hispanics not being able to get into college, but rather about an act that would allow students who are not legal residents of the United States to gain permanent status in this country through education! :]
mexican32 replied...
Apr. 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm
im sorry. i just got really mad reading this is all
alexs9 said...
Nov. 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm
The DREAM Act has major support in both houses of congress. It will not only benefit students who are currently working hard on their degrees but the nation as a whole. Because intelligent minds are always horrible things to waste...
marmara33 said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 9:56 am
I don't understand why they must put dreams on hold. I also don't understand why this common sense piece of legislation has not yet been passed. It has wide support and it needs to pass now!
SergioT said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 8:55 pm
I don't understand what these kids have to do with the legal immigrants. These kids are America's kids, and rules or anything else can't change that. We should be proud of the kids and all these facts and stats people have posted may be true, but there not regarding these dreamers. These kids have to work for that dream. We should give these kids a chance.
kyledeb said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm
The DREAM Act is one of the most widely supported pieces of immigration legislation before Congress now. It makes no sense to keep people from the only country they know as their home.
Black Saint said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 2:34 pm
Mexico's and Latin American's primary economic policy is to send their Uneducated peons and Criminals to the US for Tax payers to support and be the Victims as they rob and slaughter Americans by the 10,s of thousands, Businesses to Exploit and profit from, and for Corrupt Politicians to Pander and Cuddle while ignoring our Constitution against Invasion, The Rule of Law, & their Oath of Office!
Black Saint said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm
The Latinos that make up the largest group of the Illegal Aliens population has the largest school drop out rate of any ethnic group in the USA, second highest illegitimate birth rate, second highest crime rate, highest total birth rate and recent studies confirm they start dropping out of school, using drugs, having illegitimate kids, joining gangs at an earlier age then any ethnic group in the USA.
This behavior continues even after citizenship and down through each generation. Thi... (more »)
anja replied...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 5:39 pm
Isn't it curious that when people choose to spread your particular flavor of hate and misinformation they pick anonymity. If you are so proud of your opinions post under your name. For the record I'm latina , I hold an MS from Hopkins, I'm citizen and I pay over 20 grand in taxes each year. I find people like you who pigheadedly roll in your own ignorance and call it patriotism deeply offensive. And also sad. How small is the world you live in.
Advocate54 replied...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 6:51 am
Well said Anja. These bigots that wrap themselves in their definition of "patriotism" are a blasphemy to the real Patriots of this county. Those of us who fight for human and civil rights for all.
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