The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was originally introduced in the US Senate in 2001. It was shot down again in December 2010. What is the DREAM Act and how does it affect upper middle class (UMC) students and their parents?
The DREAM Act provides college and citizenship options for children of illegal immigrants. Children qualify by having moved to the US before age 16. They must have graduated from a US high school or earned a GED. In order to receive conditional permanent residency, children must complete two years in the military or four years at an academic institution. After two years, a six year temporary residency period is imposed, but only if the child earned a degree, enrolled in a Bachelor’s program for two years or served in the military for at least two years with an honorable discharge.
Children of illegal immigrants would be allowed to take out federal loans and participate in work study under the DREAM Act. They are not eligible for government grants or scholarships.
Illegal immigration is quite a hot topic and it’s becoming even hotter as illegal immigrants attend American universities. In California, this topic is scorching due to a recent ruling by the CA Supreme Court, which now allows illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition prices.
Many people are scathing mad, including UMC parents and students. The taxpaying citizens of the UMC do have a right to be upset. Their financial aid woes are being ignored while illegals receive college benefits. We can’t imagine how the citizens of California must feel, especially since it’s a nearly bankrupt state.
What does this mean for the UMC? Technically, it could lead to dire consequences because more money will be given to the 65,000 children of illegal immigrants who graduate from American high schools each year. For example, work study jobs are extremely hard to get right now because funding was cut so drastically. Can you imagine if an illegal immigrant got a work study job over your kid, a taxpaying citizen? Talk about unfair.
It seems that illegal immigration and financial aid woes are being inextricably linked. What will the UMC do about it? It’s one thing to allow illegal immigrants to live in your area. It’s a whole other ballgame to let them take away college financial aid.
What do you think?
~ the WPC team
Williamson, Jennifer. “The DREAM Act: What it Could Mean for Immigrant Students.” Distance-Education.org, December 27, 2010.