Educational Policies on Undocumented Immigrants
During the 107th Congress in 2001, DREAM Act as a bipartisan legislation, was primarily introduced. Each year, there is evidence of a growing support for the DREAM Act. In the past years, it has gained 48 Senate cosponsors and more than 152 Republic and Democratic House Cosponsors. It has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2003-2004 108th Congress, and again in 2006, the DREAM act passed the full Senate as part of a Comprehensive immigration Reform Act of 2006.
Under this Act, undocumented students who finished high school will be provided of the opportunity to apply for a conditional status, which can be renewed to a non-conditional green card, granting that they attend college or serve the U.S military for at least 2 years. To be eligible for immigration relief under the DREAM Act, a student must have entered the U.S more than 5 years ago, before the age of 16 or younger and must be able to display good moral reputation. Each year, there are hundreds of thousands of undocumented high school graduates who qualify for the DREAM Act provisions. This population consists of students who were both born and raised in the United States, or students who at an early age were brought and raised by their parents to live in the country. Many of these students excel academically and have displayed unique talents in arts and sports. These are the students hoping to serve the future nation as bankers, educators and health providers. Despite having lived in the U.S for most of their lives, they are confronted with hindrances to obtaining college education, have difficulties finding legal and professional jobs in the U.S, and often have to endure continuous fear of being caught by immigration authorities.
While there is currently an increasing support for the DREAM Act, still a number of opposing parties have vetoed. California Governor -Elect Schwarzenegger said he opposed the bill with an emphasis that providing educational benefits to illegal residents posts threats against the General Fund (Cassady).Given this Act, oppositions argue how it does not make logic to use taxpayers’ money to educate a work force that is not legal to work in the United States. In contrast, out-of-state students of the country have to pay a full amount for education. This privilege to illegal residents at the expense of the taxpayers is not a good idea at a time when costs of tuition fee are increasing (Kobach). There are also allegations how the DREAM Act defies the federal immigration law. There is a constant concern that this policy might encourage more illegal immigrants to rush into the country and take away the privileges from U.S citizens. In addition, without legal residency, these undocumented immigrants, despite their college degree will find it difficult to obtain quality positions and will end up to lower-paying jobs that they could have acquired without a college degree.
On the contrary, the light of the DREAM Act is viewed as an economic progress strategy to lower the increasing rate of undocumented student drop-out. Not helping students attend college will result to much greater costs in the