The Dream Act misses the mark
In an ideal world, every student who dreams about going to college will get that opportunity. For a number of reasons, that dream can be elusive to some.We’ve all heard the stories about high school grads who hunger for a college degree, the many stories of those who work their way through college or get student loans to make their dream a reality.Ambitious people find a way to make it happen.In an effort to give one group of students a leg up to college, Congress is considering the Dream Act. If passed, it would let undocumented students who have lived in the United States for more than five years apply for conditional status, giving them six years of legal residence. During that time, a student would have to go to college for two years or serve in the military for two years. After six years, the student could receive permanent residence and eventually apply for citizenship. The act also would eliminate a federal requirement that if colleges let undocumented students pay in-state tuition, they must let out-of-state students do the same.At a community gathering in support of the act last week, local Latinos talked about their dreams of earning a college degree. They also shared their thoughts about having that dream thwarted because they cannot afford to pay out-of-state tuition.While we applaud the efforts of Congregations and Schools Empowered, a newly formed community action group in the valley, to draw attention to this issue, this bill appears to miss the mark.Our objection to the Dream Act is that it aids undocumented immigrants at the expense of taxpaying Americans who struggle to pay for college for themselves or their children. Although it is certainly not the fault of the individual students that they are undocumented, it was a conscious choice made by their parents who brought them to this country in the first place.College is not an entitlement for any legal resident, much less to an illegal one. Our message to anyone who wants to go to college is, pursue your dream. Find a way to make it happen. Whether through community college, night classes or other means, there are opportunities out there for those with the energy to pursue them.As with any dream, there will be obstacles. For the truly successful people, obstacles are challenges, they are not road blocks.
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