The DREAM Act – A Brighter Future For Many Students
In the coming days, the U.S. Senate will debate the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, a bi-partisan piece of legislation that will make it possible for many young adults who are undocumented immigrants to start on the path to legalization.
The DREAM Act will provide a pathway to legal status for young people who are willing to work for a college degree or serve in our armed forces. For many of these young people, America is the only home they know, and English is their first language. They are young men and young women who are successful in school and committed to the kind of work ethic that has made America great.
The DREAM Act will enable undocumented students to apply for federal student loans, which must be paid back, and federal work-study programs, in which they must work for any benefit they receive. The students would not be eligible for federal grants, such as Pell Grants. DREAM-eligible youths would also not be eligible for health care subsidies, including Medicaid, or other federal means-tested benefits like food stamps.
Eligibility requirements for legal status under the DREAM Act are strict and legal status must be earned through a lengthy process that takes many years. To legalize, individuals have to meet stringent eligibility criteria: they must have entered the United States before age 16; must have been here for five years or more; must not have committed any major crimes; must graduate from high school or the equivalent; and must complete at least two years of college or military service within six years of the bill’s enactment. In addition, they must be under 30 years old on the date of enactment and they must prove that they have possessed good moral character from the time they arrived in the United States. Eligible students must first obtain conditional residency and complete the requirements before they can obtain a green card—a process that takes years.
These students have been raised and educated in our schools and local taxpayers have already invested in their education in elementary and secondary school. The DREAM Act will help America reap the benefits of those investments. Going to college will provide an opportunity for them to live up to their full potential and make a greater contribution to the U.S. economy and our society.
The DREAM Act was written for exactly the kind of young people that America should be embracing: young soldiers, scholars, strivers and future leaders. In virtually all respects, except their undocumented status, they are Americans. Enacting this bill is the right thing to do for these talented young people and for the U.S. economy. We all benefit every time a young adult enhances their education and skills.
And that's The Business Perspective.
Total Votes: 0
Avg Vote: 0