Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

The Dream Act: Development, Relief

Category Developments
Essay type Research
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The Dream Act was first introduced to the US Congress in August 2001 under President George W. Bush's first term. This act which stands for Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors has become a major stepping stone for the long debated issue of immigration reform. It wasn't until mid-2012 under President Barack Obama's first term that legislature similar to The Dream Act actually came to fruition.

Legislation known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) grants those persons who were brought to this country illegally while they were under the age of 6 and who were under age 31 when the policy took place, have no criminal record, and are willing to go to college or serve the US military the right stay in this country without the fear of facing deportation during the next two years. The issue of immigration in particular illegal immigration has been a controversial topic our government has argued on a variety of perspectives.

This issue has been long debated from the perspective of national security to Jobs, economy as well as human rights violations. The reality is that this country was built upon the hard work and edication of immigrants, and while it continues to remain welcoming to immigrants from around the world the issue of illegal immigration in particular after the terrorist attacks of September 1 lth 2001 have only made the debate on immigration reform that much more difficult.

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While advocates of The Dream Act and other legislation such as DACA argue that those who arrived to this country illegally while still a minor should not be penalized for their parents actions and/or decisions to bring them to the US, those who oppose the act claim that allowing those very same minors the pportunity to study and serve the US military are taking those same opportunities away from current US citizens. Regardless of which side you find yourself standing on the issue of illegal immigration is a very real one, and one that must continue to be addressed.

Throughout this report I will highlight some of the social service and human rights needs currently facing this demographic group within our communities. It is my plan of action as a social worker and concerned community member to become an active advocate alongside state representatives and law akers to ensure that comprehensive immigration reform is passed while addressing the social service and human rights needs highlighted. Without advocates getting involved in the process true positive change can not be had especially when it comes to this complicated subject of immigration reform.

According to the article The American Dream by Barbara Krasner currently there are approximately 11 million illegal or undocumented immigrants in the US. This figure continues to grow as US border patrol agents miss approximately 1,000 people daily who cross the border illegally. While personally I agree that our country must secure our borders in the interest of national security, I also believe that comprehensive immigration reform legislation should be passed to address the social complex needs facing those that are currently here.

Legislation such as DACA only helps provide a temporary solution to a much greater problem facing our society. Out of the approximate 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the US it is expected that only 2 million will qualify for the DACA policy leaving 8 million illegal immigrants unaddressed. Without the proper implementation of a plan to better secure our orders the issues regarding illegal immigration will continue to act as a revolving door for generations to come. Once a minority population the US Hipic/Latino population has grown to what is projected to become the US majority group by 2015.

As can be seen during the past few presidential elections this demographic group highly persuaded campaigns and election results. When it comes to the issue of immigration reform the US Hipic/Latino population has been a driving force behind legislation such as DACA and the current bipartisan committee working on the issue at hand. The reality is that the issue of illegal immigration has been an issue primarily focused on Hipics and Latinos as the security of the border in question has been the US/Mexico border.

Many of the undocumented or illegal immigrants that arrive to this country on a daily basis tend to be of Hipic or Latino descent. However it must remain clear that other nationalities that arrive at Latin American countries can and do cross the border illegally as well. Since there is an ability to have multiple nationalities and persons with all different intentions cross he border illegally the issue of national security becomes a very valid issue. Securing the border is a must for any comprehensive immigration reform legislation that may be passed.

As a social worker my concern goes far beyond the issue of national security. I am also highly concerned about the social handicaps and human rights issues the demographic groups of illegal immigrants face once they are in this country. Being of Hipic descent myself it has become much easier for me to identify with many illegal immigrants from a variety of backgrounds as growing up I oo was considered a minority. Many arrive in hopes of seeking better quality of life consisting of better employment opportunities, living conditions and educational resources for their children.

Others are given false promises of a better life as they are trafficked into this country and enslaved into prostitution or a life of drug trafficking. Both groups end up becoming a part of our communities, schools and churches. We encounter how they are constantly living in fear of being deported back to their countries often times tearing families apart all while facing abuse by mployers who exploit their labor, discrimination by other demographic groups who may isolate them or become hostile towards them Just for being here.

We also face children who arrived here illegally who have no recollection of their native country and grow up as Americans without anything to prove or say that they are. As you can see the issues regarding illegal immigration are very complex and encompass a variety of social needs that people such as me must advocate for. Those of us who see the faces and know the names behind the stories must become active articipants alongside our legislators and state representatives to help ensure that adequate laws and policies are put into place to help address the basic social and human rights needs we are all too familiar with.

Besides the needs I already mentioned there are many more this group encounters on a daily basis. Illegal immigrants can be found among our homeless populations, at our soup kitchens, facing language barriers as well as financial barriers. Many are exploited for their labor often being paid very little for long hours of work. Depression is also an issue ha a c this demographic group as many miss their native country and tind themselves at a loss belonging to neither their home country nor the country they currently reside in.

Others find themselves in an abusive relationship unable to seek help as they fear that law enforcement will deport them rather than help them address their current situation. As social workers these are only some of the needs we are confronted with and we must take proactive measures to help ensure they are addressed. Unfortunately I find that sometimes we are limited with the resources for which we are able to help the undocumented population. Many times we end up providing band aid solutions rather than a long term one to the problems we address.

Although the federal government has not been successful over the past several decades in passing comprehensive immigration reform I do believe we are getting closer each day to seeing something come to pass. The growing minority populations along with pressure from states have caused the wheels of progress to maintain themselves in constant movement towards a solution. Many states such as Massachusetts and Maryland have already passed their own form of a Dream Act rimarily addressing the secondary educational opportunities available to undocumented immigrants.

As Dr. Loh the president of the University of Maryland put it "the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the values of education when it ruled in 1982 that undocumented children are entitled toa public school education". It is based on that premise that the argument was made in Maryland as in Massachusetts and other states that it would make no sense to pay for the public school education for undocumented children while denying them the right to further pursue their education as would any other child.

The Dream Acts in those states now treat undocumented children who graduate high school as residents of the state allowing them to apply to colleges while paying the in-state tuition rates. Just as DACA legislations like those I Just mentioned do help provide some relief to the illegal immigrant population however it is not enough. As states comes to the realization that only addressing the educational needs of this demographic group isn't enough we find that more pressure is placed on the federal government to come up with a solution.

On the other side of the spectrum there are states in particular those losest to the US/Mexico border who have attempted to pass legislation that only further burdens the undocumented immigrant population. States such as Arizona have attempted to pass legislation that would allow law enforcement the ability to stop any vehicle for practically any reason to demand proof of citizenship of those within the vehicle. Legislation such as this one only creates greater fear among the immigrant population and often times causes them to move to another state creating a social/ human rights burden on the other states communities and resources.

Just s professors and advocates united and lobbied in states like Massachusetts and Maryland to ensure undocumented children were given the right to further their education; other advocates united to oppose the civil rights violations created in states such as Arizona and others by legislation such as the one previously mentioned. Without the help of advocates law makers will address the problem of illegal immigration as a statistics problem rather than a human problem. It is important for them to hear the social and human rights ramifications the lack of comprehensive reform has on our communities across the country.

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The Dream Act: Development, Relief. (2018, Jun 25). Retrieved from

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